Have you ever been so committed to an idea or issue or movement that you have a hard time seeing any point of view but your own? I have, and am right now. I want a particular person to be included at a big event next week because I believe he has something important to contribute. I believe this so much that I’m finding it almost impossible to hear the view of any nay sayers.
How could these people not see what I see? … It’s so obvious! … I say to myself.
Then at some point I realize that I’ve done nothing but talk to myself, even if I talked to the others who I’m convinced won’t agree with me. Why? Because I’ve filtered what they’re saying and hear only what agrees with my foregone conclusions.
I miss the chance to really hear what they’re saying. It might be that they believe there’s simply no room for an extra person; or that if this person comes then so should their friend. It might even be that they agree with me. Or that I caught them on a day their dog got lost.
Not missing what is on their minds means I can allow their concerns to register, mirroring back to them what they’re saying, and offering them a chance, in turn, to mirror my concerns back to me.
Confrontation can happen in one of two ways: either to win over the other person, or to take the conversation to a new level. The first is like a one-way mirror; the secnd like a window into each other’s soul.
From Martha Beck: Don’t be the light. Be the window.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .