Do you have the courage to speak your “true,” as Voltaire called it, and to listen? This is not easy for many of us.
In fact, not long ago I was at a meeting where we as a group needed to make a decision. I had thought about the topic, did some research, spoke to some colleagues and was very clear about what we needed to do. I was convinced. Hooked on Being right and Righteous. I was so convinced I was ”right” that I was struck with how closed off I was to listening to anyone in the group with a different point of view. Suddenly I realized this position went against absolutely everything I believed in and know is true: that listening facilitates real communication and conversation. I knew I wanted to make a shift. So with all my energy and strength I said to the group: “I have a very strong opinion on these issues AND from my heart and head I want to listen to your opinions.” What a lesson.
Often we forget that we are separate and have different opinions, different memories, and different perceptions of what actually happened and there is no one right way. Even if you totally and absolutely know that you are "right” . . . all you know is your perspective. When you don’t allow the other their perspective, there is only One person in the room. There is no room for Two and communication is stopped, killed, deadened.
An Exercise: Appreciations and Resentments
1. Person A speaks her appreciations to Person B. B listens and doesn't interrupt. A gives concrete examples, e.g. when I asked you to turn the computer off and you did, I really appreciated that. A gives a concrete example for every appreciation. Maximum time--3 minutes.
2. Person B speaks her appreciations to Person A. Again, very concrete examples. A listens, hopefully with head and heart and does not interrupt.
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