One of the hardest things to cultivate in life is our relationships with friends, business colleagues and loved ones.
We can easily get upset with one another and when we do; our feelings are so tender and sensitive. We can get over-reactive and raise our voices and say things we regret or we can under-react and go silent and withdraw.
The Difficult Dance
It’s a difficult dance between communicating honestly and at the same time trying to not hurt others. It’s so easy to err in either direction even when we mean well. We may communicate our truth with too much emotional charge and hurt the one we love or hold back our real feelings and then feel that we have compromised ourselves.
Sometimes we think we know what is going on with others, we tell them and they feel judged.
Oppositely we can feel that others should somehow know what we are going through and we get angry because they don't. Upset increases and we start interrupting one another. The the interruption adds fuel to the fire and pretty soon we get burned pretty bad.
The problem is not so much what we know or even worse what we think others know about us. It’s what we don't know.
Knowledge is not the problem. Lack of knowledge is. The solution is understanding.
Over the years I have found one question to be extremely helpful when things go wrong in relating to others. It is wonderful simple question.
"Tell me what you want me to understand about __________" and insert the subject. (your job, your weight, your health, your lack of energy, your sadness, etc).
You sit down, ask the question, tell your judgements to take a hike, be quiet and listen.
When you don't understand something that's being said fill in the blank with the thing you don't understand and ask the question again.
Don't stop until you have fully understood. When they are finished repeat back to them what you understood. When they say you got it, there will be a remarkable shift. The tension will be vastly reduced.
You will have achieved something called mutual understanding.
You received exactly what they communicated and you both recognized it was the same thing. Its remarkable and delicious...food for the soul.
Then you ask the person if they will listen and you tell them what you want them to understand about yourself.
Try this out and see how this works.
It’s a miracle to behold...you know why?
The Big Thing Going On
It’s because it’s the big thing going on in life. It’s the big purpose... the whole she-bang. We want understanding...understanding about everything...you, me, us, life, love, truth, existence. We are in life going for it 100%.
It’s not what we know that's the problem it’s what we don't know...about ourselves and others.
Once we achieve mutual understanding with another then we can proceed to make decisions to solve the problem. Trying to solve a problem before we understand what is really going on, can be a fatal mistake.
We end up making it worse.