“Listen with your ears and not your mouf’”
I’ve had genuine conversations in three of my relationship sectors over the past week; Love, Family, and Work. Genuine in the sense that it allowed me to step back and observe, I believe to become an effective listener you have to understand other's communication styles.
I am laid back and won’t take much personally, and as I thought about these conversations I observed both an aggressive and assertive communication style. To me, effective communication is being able to clearly state your point of view and feelings, and firmly advocate your needs without minimizing those of others.
I dislike when someone discusses a problem or a unique situation and that' one comes out their mouf' with some sort of comparative pain or struggle, they too know what it sounds like when dove's cry.
Meet Mr. or Mrs. Me Too.
It is human nature I suppose, an effort to be relatable, but when it is done without intent listening it becomes ineffective.
I'm vain and this post is about me, and not the content of those conversations. What they did for me, however, was open up my mind to thinking differently. Intent listening provided an opportunity for me to improve the way I communicate with others.
I don't know.
I made a mistake.
I've changed my mind.
These simple statements affirm my right to change, to learn and to grow and prevent my ego from dying. Fear of ego-death, one of the five primal fears can feel like fear of rejection, fear of guilt, fear of embarrassment ...
At times we rationalize our behavior when we do not approve of the real reason that's causing it.
When your Boo' is angry or upset, try not to take it personally, stay calm and centered. Usually has nothing to do with you, often they are probably just in their feelings; feeling criticized, feeling unimportant, feeling helpless and is instinctively drawing you into that. Recognize that you will be tempted to react with negative feelings based on what is unresolved in you but be responsible for your negativity and try to avoid absorbing your Bae's negativity; stay connected to a sense of goodness and value in yourself.
Unless of course, that shit is your fault, then beg for forgiveness.
Here "family" is used in place of great friends. Because of the constant and persistent bastardization of the word “friend,” I want to make the distinction that these are friends I consider family. Words have power and we can give them meaning or return that meaning to them by choice. I value these friendships and they mean everything to me. We've comforted each other through life through great conversation, listening, understanding and laughs.
I appreciate that my friends never silence me. I don’t have to pretend to be happy if upset, and how they respond to my good times and bad times tells me a lot about our relationship. Good friends listen when you hurt, and cheer for you when you win. They will also let you know when you're wrong and problem solve (if you ask ;) Problem-solving as a free-flowing, adaptive learning process, not a set of steps.
"You should not confuse your work with your life"
I've never been able to shake this thought that folks' identities are tied into what they do. Which is why you have those empty conversation starters void of thought. The prolific poet Christopher George Latore Wallace eluded to it with "What's your name, what's your sign..." generally followed by "Where you work? Where did you attend school? Who your people? Where the hose' at?"
The focus for most of us in our careers is a good work/ life balance, and while that may look different for each of us consider that if something happens to you the work will most definitely continue. Life will go on, so don't kill yourself being loyal to a job. When it comes to happiness at work, it is often a matter of subtraction, not addition. Subtract the hours, add the dollars.
Pay me, don't stroke me.
Make the best decision for you and yours. These hose' ain't loyal.
There is another balance at play between cynicism and gullibilty; don't accept everything at face value and don't look for diabolical motives in everything.
I'm learning and actively practicing placing more value on myself, my time, and my emotional and physical needs by becoming a strong advocate for myself while being respectful of the rights of others.
However, I'm a Virgo so don't test me.
B. Petty TramueL