I recently heard a communication expert share a key skill in helping us engage healthier communications with others – even those we disagree with.
The skill was in learning how to give freedom to the thoughts we have during communications to come and go from our minds. Thereby resisting the need to capture and articulate on each one. In other words, by giving our thoughts the freedom to go with the flow, we are better able to stay in the moment, remain present, and reduce our distraction. As a result, we become better listeners by not always contemplating on the next thing we want to say.
We all want to be heard, validated, and pontificate on our views at times, but the point being raised was is this really the primary purpose in our communicating with others? If so, it’s really one sided. Rather, what if we entered conversations to learn, to be curious, and to genuinely have an interest in others?
I know that I can quite often be distracted in conversations because I’m routinely flooded with thoughts that I want to express. I’m always thinking about what I want to say that I don’t hear the other as well as I truly want.
The idea of letting my thoughts enter and exit my mind without feeling the need to express them is in one way freeing, but also feels odd. Almost like I shouldn’t do that – perhaps it’s a giving up some form of control?
Which takes me to a larger point – the desire for control. It provides us with a sensation of security. Controlling the outcome of a conversation, making our point, and maybe even fighting for our side, our view feels somewhat relevant and worthy – but how much do we lose out on?
Same with life – what if we allowed life to come and go freely without trying to control every moment? What if we obviously served as good stewards by being responsible and prudent, but also, understanding life is ultimately uncontrollable, and isn’t about us. What if we remained curious even while holding our views?
This isn’t to advocate passivity, or not working for what’s well, but rather simply being less defensive, less self focused, and more welcoming, inviting, hospitable, and curious – and not solely with those who think like us, act like us, and talk like us.
When I look at the life of Jesus, our ultimate role model, He often spoke and associated with folks very different from Him. He listened well, and expressed His views clearly, not defensively, and seemingly almost always concluded His conversations in ways that still remained inviting.