“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ” Plato
Several years ago I was working with a couple. The couple were both hard working professionals with successful practices. and dedicated parents to their 5 children. Managing life was truly an art in and of itself for them. As in many marriages, as life became busier work, and children often took precedence over the couple spending time with each other. Sound familiar?
During one coaching session one partner said to me, I know, I know we need to make more time to WORK on our marriage. The word WORK just hit me wrong. These were people that needed less work, not more. So gently I said, “You both work so hard at your practices, and at making life work for your children, maybe what you need to do is have more FUN in your marriage.” We all laughed. They thought that was a tremendous idea, and began to discuss how they could have more FUN together, instead of working on the marriage.
This small change of perspective made all the difference for them. They began to surprise each other, take unexpected trips, do fun and silly things together. They began to laugh together again. If your marriage or partnership isn’t what it once was think about how to make it more fun, not more work.
Needs some ideas? Contact me!
This is written by Michael Oliver. It coincides with my professional and personal experiences. I have been on both the receiving and giving end of effective and non-effective communication connections with people. Michael’s insights are well stated and worth passing on…
If you allow your own ego, beliefs and life’s experiences interpret or assume what another person is saying, without finding out first what they are meaning – you’ll likely lose their attention and trust!
Why? Because unless you are right on the mark, your assumption causes a break in the rapport and flow of the conversation or dialogue. It’s no different than treating people’s comments, questions and concerns as being objections to be overcome. It tells the other person that you’re not really listening and nor do you really care to understand.
For example. Have you ever said something like this in response to what someone has previously said;
That must have been awful for you
What if it was not THAT awful for them! Or not awful at all? Maybe what they were saying sounded awful! Maybe there was a positive outcome, which you didn’t hear because you didn’t give them time to talk about it – or even ask!”
Instead you could have asked; And how was that for you?
Now you would have heard their history without it being interrupted by yours!
How about…; I know how you feel!
Really? Do you? People’s real feelings are very unique to them. It’s also almost impossible to know how someone really feels unless you really dig deep,
Instead, find out more and ask a question; “So how did you feel about that?”
Or… If I were in your situation, I would be frustrated as well
Do you think the other person really cares if you would be frustrated as well! The story is about them not you!
Instead you could ask; So tell me more about that?
Detach from your need to use these gratuitous remarks and tell people what you think. This is especially important if you are in a conversation with them, when it’s critical to establish and maintain rapport.
What does it mean to live in connection? It means I am connected to myself, I have intrapersonal intimacy, I know myself. I am aware of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I take responsibility for and seek to understand them. I am responsible for myself, and blaming my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on others is a cop out that dismisses me from personal responsibility. Likewise, I am not responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others; they are responsible for their own.
To live in connection means that I am also able to experience interpersonal intimacy, a connection between me and others at a fundamental level of being. I allow myself to be known, they allow themselves to be known and we are both aware that this connection is occurring. This level of connection is exquisitely deep, fleeting, and quite rare. My experience with this type of connection is of being suspended in a time and place where the world around us falls away, and all that is left is the deep, exhilarating, and sometimes terrifying experience of knowing and being known.
To live in connection means that I am willing to develop skills to listen to and understand myself and others deeply, and that I have others in my life that are willing to be known and to know me. Many believe they desire this depth of connection, yet few are willing to do the work it takes to achieve it. It is frightening to look at oneself, unmasked and vulnerable and it is even more terrifying to let others see our essence. It is also amazingly rewarding and awesome to be seen, known, and still loved.
If I am to live in connection with others it means I cannot shrink from the authenticity and vulnerability of them. I must value the courage it takes others to let me know them. In turn, I must not shy away from truly knowing them, honoring their journey, and holding their space with the sacredness it deserves. I cannot flinch if I am repulsed by what they have done or what has been done to them, because in those moments of true connection I must be able to support their truth, not indulge my own weaknesses and be able to love them more by knowing them for who they truly are. By knowing and connecting, we form meaning for our own lives and celebrate the lives of others.
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