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.