“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Herbert Prochnow
How many times have we said to a spouse, child, sibling, friend or co-worker, “Will you just listen for a second?” We are all so guilty of assuming what it is the person is going to say or defend. It is one of the most frustrating attempts at communication when another human being, won’t allow us the time to say what we are desperately trying to say.
Of course those of us who do permit another to have their say find out quickly that the courtesy is not returned. It can and does happen on both ends. Sadly for all of us, we get nowhere in our communication attempts. We do promote anger, frustration, anxiety, resentment, loud voices, feelings of guilt, a variety of illnesses and sleepless nights.
Neither party is exempt from the results of the break in communication. A major point is if we learn from the harrowing experience when our train is back on the tracks. I would venture to say we repeat the interaction in the near future. I am wondering what it is in human nature that refrains us from listening when we are in disagreement. It’s as if we are doing battle and we are determined to win. I think we ought to realize just what it is that we have accomplished and won.
Maybe it has to do with the times in childhood when we had to do what our parents said regardless of right or wrong. We learned to listen under duress of punishment. Maybe it has to do with school when we were caught between the teacher and our parent, or the times our sibling was stretching the truth and the louder voice was heard, or maybe we just get tired of everyone at work telling us what to do. Whatever the reason for our irrationality , we don’t give in.
A moment of silence and quiet listening may bring some insight upon the situation and allow for understanding and communication. The result is maintaining a compromise with both sides preserving their pride intact. It becomes effortless to listen with practice. Fostering an exchange of ideas makes learning easier and provides a template for a more trouble-free relationship.
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved with understanding.” Albert Einstein