When you see a person acting in ways that rub you the wrong way, what do you do?
- Do you assume they mean to upset you?
- Do you assume that they are wrong (and you are right)?
- Do you assume that they are doing something to hurt you and you had nothing to do with it?
- Do you assume that it is personal?
These assumptions are common, and this is unfortunate because most of the time, a person that acts in certain ways that upsets you, has no intention to hurt you. Here’s what may be happening instead.
- The person is upset and is reacting defensively to shake off the feelings that upset them. They are not really thinking of you. They might not be thinking at all. They may be responding from learned Primary Responses triggered by fear.
- The person response comes from thoughts and interpretations of the situation that you cannot even remotely imagine because you are missing pieces of information about what has happened to this person, what their life is like and what issues from the past they are carrying.
- If their reaction does have to do with you, how have your actions, choices and interactions generated this response? Unless you are willing to look at this, to talk about it, to listen and to own your part, you will blame the other in order not to see your steps in the dance. Be aware: a sure sign that you are engaging in this is your conviction that ALL the fault lies on the other and you are absolutely right and not at fault.
- The actions of this person are a response to a situation and a set of previous interactions with others that you are not privy to. They have nothing to do with you and the person may not even realize how their actions are affecting you.
Which is which?
You need to detach from your personalization, release your blame and communicate.
What often happens is that we tell ourselves that we asking, trying and communicating when in reality what we are doing in setting the stage to show that we “tried,” that we are the “good guys” and that the other person did not respond well.
We already have a set of beliefs that make us see the situation a certain way and we are convinced that this is the right way. We play at being liberal and understanding by pretending to be open-minded. But in reality, we are setting the other person up so that we look and feel that we are the good ones, that we tried.
In reality, we are not truly, deeply listening and we are covertly blaming the other.
You Fool no one
People detect when you are being honest about listening to them.
People also detect immediately when they are being judged.
Sure, sometimes we interpret that we are being judged when we are not, but usually we can tell.
You can’t BS your way around this.
First, you need to take the Internal Action of opening yourself.
You need to open to a new understanding, to be fully willing to see things that you are not seeing now. You need to have a mindset of learning, to set out to learn and to accept where you may have contributed to the situation.
This willingness gives a clear energy signal to the other person that you really mean it when you say that they can talk their truth and you are listening.
Then you can take the External Action of inviting the person to tell you why they did this, how they feel, what is their objective and if they perceive that you had anything to do with it.
Because you come from the right place, they will probably do it.
What you get out of this
If you hold your intention of listening deeply with an open mind and heart you will learn and you will grow.
The relationship will also grow and deepen, and you will have earn this person’s trust.
Above all, you will be a freer, wiser human being.
That is so worth the try!