If I tell of my angst, it only seems fair that I share the reflection that came with it.
I find one of my colleagues incredibly frustrating! The speed at which conversations occur with their sharpness, lack of probing questions, and absence of confirming acknowledgement all scream that there little to no listening is underway. Once you realize that then one naturally goes searching for the manipulation technique that allows one to “win” the conversation, but the authenticity of the words and “dialogue” are sacrificed along the way. When this occurs systemically then everyone shares responsibility for building a house together founded not on shared facts and logic but on perceptions, manipulation, and artificial images.
The emotional wave kept coming so I resorted to writing a dialogue to myself. I make no attempt to keep things in order; most entries are not even dated. Rather I pose the situation as an anonymous question and then reflectively pause before trying to propose a tentative approach that I might be able to use. The process usually cycles on itself, with minor revisions for a few hours or days before I fix on the approach that I will use for the future. The benefits of this approach come through a visible “patience” with others as I reflect on what I can do and a refinement in my response as my “values and priorities” begin to overtake the emotions of the moment.
There is one big problem with this. As angry as I am with another I see my own mirror laid out before me in vivid colors! I know that “answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” (Proverbs 18.14) Yet am I that different? Sure I may listen 99% of the time, but what does it seem like to the 1% that only know my “other” side? What if my perception of the 99% is wrong and reality is actually 90%, 80% or perhaps even 60%?
The answer is, as always, God. God alone can deal with this. I will do more listening; first with God, then…