Have you ever been in discussions where it seems that what you’re saying isn’t being understood? Where again and again you try to express and explain and share and no one is getting it? This could be in a meeting, with your colleagues, family, friends, partner.
Besides making sure you’re not simply repeating the same words and phrase again and again, hoping that one of the times it will finally get through, what else is there to do?
If we want the situation to change, if we want to feel forward movement, then sometimes the best way in is to listen.
I know it doesn’t sound right.
We’re wanting the person we’re with to understand where we are coming from, what we are seeking, how we are feeling, but a lot of the time we have to make certain the person we’re with feels safe and comfortable before we say anything. Why? Because there has to be an opening for one to listen. Someone has to pick up the other end of the line.
To be heard it’s important to listen. Because it’s by listening to others that we include them. And once they feel included they are more receptive to listening.
Think about what makes you feel involved in conversations – what makes them easy for you to be yourself, relaxed and open?
What’s hard is that sometimes no matter how much we listen and create an open space to discuss sometimes people aren’t open to seeing from a different perspective – aren’t open to potentially looking at a situation differently. And it’s in those moments we have to remind ourselves that it’s not our responsibility to make them understand or to make them listen. It’s only our words, actions, and reactions that we are responsible for.
As hard as it is, a lot of the time we have to let go of people who can only see from their perspective, who aren’t able to pick up the line. It’s not about right or wrong – or even agreeing with what the other person has to say – it’s about being open to the possibility to potentially learn something new or different. It’s moving from a closed mind to an open mind. From the self to the other.
I used to be very closed off and unable to listen to anyone. Suggestions from others I would dismiss, feelings I would judge. And you know what I missed out on? Growing. Learning. Living.
Now in these types of situations – I remind myself that all of it is a brainstorm. It’s not about me. It’s about coming up with the best possible solution for an issue – entertaining a different way.
Imagine having something you need to express and wanting to talk about it – not just wanting to say it, but wanting to really explore it. Get feedback.
Think about how your conversations could be different if you saw them more as a chance to brainstorm.by