There comes a time (sometimes more than once) when the stars align in a completely different way due to unforeseen circumstances and you notice a significant shift. Your feet seem to step lighter, the ground feels more absorbent, and the air around seems to be clear. It is in that very moment that you can barely hear your own ego, and suddenly you hear your own voice whisper, “You may be right.”
And for once in your life, you are not talking to yourself. Well, yes, you are, but you are not referring to yourself in being right…again.
After many years of the most challenging life events I have ever had, though clearly not the worst there are to have…I have a sense of clarity I cannot ever recall having. I suppose it is not that surprising. Maybe after you have been stripped of the things you have always ‘known’, what’s left…is true vulnerability.
I am not quite sure what exactly got me to this point since I have been deeply working on myself for the past year and a half, but I know for sure there has been a shift. Not only in the way I see myself, but in the way I see others.
I can see today that what I hear coming at me is actually my perception of what is being given to me, that has first gone through years of being alive. Years of being engaged in meaningful relationships. Some great, some not so much. But all have left me with emotions in regards to how I perceive the present, how I perceive the future and how I perceive my life. That’s a lot of filtering.
It reminds me of the time I put a contact into my eye that already had a contact in it. That’s right. Two contacts in one eye. Now, if you are not a contact wearer, you might think, ‘now that would give you amazing vision!’ Right? Like if you held your eye to a magnifying glass.
But no, that is not what happens at all. It does not give you better vision. It does not provide even more clarity. What it gives you is a murky version of life. And since I did not realize what I had done, my brain tried desperately to make sense of what it could and could not see. Trying desperately to convince me that I had not in fact just gone blind…
If you wear contacts you might be thinking, ‘Well of course you can’t see better if you force your eyes to see through filters not meant for your eyes.’ However, I wrestled with vision for several minutes before panicking that I had just double dosed my eyes and wondered if my eyes had suddenly seen enough and had called it quits.
This is actually quite similar to what happens in our listening. Based on our emotions surrounding this person, this event, this thing, filters cloud our thinking and hearing. While we can hear the words coming at us, we may not necessarily be hearing what is said, but may be picking up on what we think someone is thinking. We may in fact be interpreting what is not being said. Or we may have already decided how we are going to respond before it is even heard, so therefore don’t listen at all. Either way, how we respond gets filtered through millions of past events and feelings and this simple conversation ends up being anything but simple.
It becomes what my eyes experienced, trying to see through a double dose of contacts and not providing an ounce of clarity or truth.
In addition to speaking from a place other than now, whoever you are speaking to will also respond from that far away place. It is then that the whole conversation becomes one hot mess.
So how do we have conversations not masked by previous emotions?
Here are some simple tips:
1- Create an intention. Are you trying to set the record straight? Are you hoping for clarity? Or do you genuinely just want to hear what someone has to say? Design it, commit to it and then set it in motion.
2 – Clean your slate. Come to the table and pretend that your slate has been cleared. Remind yourself that the past has no bearing on this present moment.
3 – Leave your ego at the door. Yes, I know that you know and you want them to know too. However, if you come to the table with that perspective, you might as well call it a day before you even get there. The truth is that you might or might not be right, but more importantly, in order to fully hear what someone is saying to you, you will need to stand in the place, that maybe…just maybe…you don’t know.
4 – Listen. Listen like it’s the first time you are hearing this person speak and then no matter how you are feeling, repeat after me: “You might be right.” Even if you are certain they are not right. Even if you are positive that you are the one that is right. Let it go. Create space for what is possible in the land of the unknown. You will be amazed at the possibility of what comes next. Trust me…