Getting Better

Last night, I was having dinner with some friends that I love. Most of these friends love peaceful environments. For a few of them, if they begin to feel strong disagreements strongly stated disagreements emerging in a conversation, they start getting stress on their faces. I think they love settings that feel peaceful to them, and that is a good thing.

I come from a family that is all about strongly stated statements. Those strongly stated statements can turn into strong disagreements in a hurry. What is interesting to me is that those strong disagreements didn’t make me feel less peaceful growing up. I think it is because that was our normal. (I’m also not saying that our family was yelling at each other all the time. What I am saying is that we all have internal intensity brewin’ away, and it is quite normal for us to strongly disagree with each other.) Our normal was a different kind of normal than my friends very well may have grown up in.

At one point during dinner with my friends last night, I made a few strong statements about the importance of challenging our own belief systems. As well as other people’s belief systems. A few in the group got the idea that I was saying we should just go challenge whoever, whenever, wherever. And I was challenged to check my motives.

Now, I was sharing this from the mindset of wanting to help people grow because of love. How I shared what I shared did not come across well, so what I was trying to say wasn’t heard because how I said it came through much stronger.

Even deeper, how I said what I said felt perfectly natural to me. It was my normal.

How it was received was not how I intended. This as an opportunity for me to grow. I can get better at how I convey what I share.

My normal isn’t everyone else’s normal. Your normal isn’t everyone else’s normal. If we can learn this, then we can make friends and have great relationships with people who aren’t clones of us.

A final thought on this. As one of my friends told me last night, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” How you share what you share may depend based on who you’re sharing with.


3 thoughts on “Getting Better

  1. That is a very hard lesson to learn. Some people just like to be confrontational or challenging and think they are helping the other person to grow. I love new ideas and growth but NEVER EVER EVER in a challenging/confrontational way. That comes from my childhood.

  2. I hate confrontational which I feel is different from challenging. Some of the difference may come from voice and attitude and another difference will come from the words that are used even though voice and attitude may say different. There are a lot of ways to discuss and not only should the talker be aware but also the listener should be aware of their own feelings. Do we listen with a chip on our shoulder; our own desire to always be right or do we listen with an open mind. The way we give out new ides or hear them usually comes from our childhood. the definition I like for challenging is – a new or different way of looking at something; not you are wrong and I am right. A challenge to grow and change but even that can make people uncomfortable.

  3. Well, I feel as if I could have been one of those friends sitting at dinner with you last night. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and you just gave me more to think about. It’s awesome you are seeking to grow, both so that you understand people better and are better understood yourself.


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