We all want it…To be seen AND to be Heard!
Have you had an experience where you said one thing and it was interpreted differently by someone? And you only realized it was misinterpreted much later when you were in the midst of a disagreement? This happens all the time, to everyone. Language is a funny thing. Just because we’re using words we all know doesn’t automatically translate to they carry the same meaning.
So…how do we get our loved ones, our co-workers, our friends and others to hear what we are saying in the way we mean it? It takes practice and an understanding of how and why we communicate the way we do. Following is the Coles notes version of what it takes to be heard.
What do you want to say?…The bare bones
First you need to know what it is you want your message to convey. Ask yourself “What is the basic message?”. This is where is gets tough. In order to do this, we have to be willing to own the emotion driving our conversation. Emotions like, hurt, shame, anger, guilt, fear, embarrassment, love, joy, excitement etc..”
Once we know what we want to say in it’s purest form the next thing is how. We often cover up what we really want to say by making a joke, taking the round about route, or saying the opposite of what we mean…which of course is the most confusing. The how entails the words and the tone in which the message is delivered. When we’re hurt or embarrassed our tone shifts, often in ways we don’t even notice. Our natural instinct is to get defensive when it’s pointed out. Ever have that happen?
Are you still with me? So…you know what our message is. You’ve decided how we’re going to deliver it, and chosen the words, and, like everything else, we sometimes need to create the space to have the conversations. We need to be in the right space. It might look like asking the other person if they have the time to have a conversation. Or, to ask for what we need in order to know we have their full attention, like going for a walk, or picking a café. This is sometimes a difficult thing to manoeuvre. Why? Because we’re all ‘busy’ and tend to create habits with the people in our lives when it comes to how we engage in conversations. How we talk to one another becomes so engrained, we often don’t notice what we’re saying, or how we’re saying it.
Curiosity is essential
One of the biggest deterrents to being misunderstood is the fear we have around being vulnerable. To expose ourself to another. We make up all kinds of stories about how someone may react, or what they may say or do and we allow those stories to determine the choices we make when we express our words. AND, all of this is done unconsciously. It’s part of our deep structures of beliefs and habituation. Most of us were never taught to embrace our vulnerability. It was something we learned to hide, protect, and defend…at all costs.
Next we need to ask ourself, “Do I have any curiosity to hear what the other person has to say?” Are we interested in their point of view? Or are we only interested in saying what we have to say? We’re all attached to our expectations and our perception of outcomes.
The last thing to consider when we want to be heard is the other person. We often have no idea what is going on with the other person when we choose to deliver our message. Are they in a good mood? Are they pre-occupied? Has something happened that we’re unaware of? Sooo many factors come into play. We can craft the perfect message, and it still gets misinterpreted. So how do we address this? We ask for what we need, clarify our intentions, and be willing and ready to let go our our perceived expectations of outcome. We cannot control what another person hears. Despite our best efforts.
Are you willing to express your vulnerability?
I do believe though that when we speak from a place of vulnerability, it carries a vibration that cannot be denied. What we say is heard at a much deeper level. One that allows another person to digest what we have to say…even if they may not like or agree with it. In the end, we are able to actually engage in a different conversation, because, we become the invitation for others to know it’s ok to be vulnerable, and to express what really lives beneath the surface. Not always easy, nor fun. YET the rewards far outweigh the the costs of being misunderstood.
- Break down what you really feel and want to express at it’s basic level
- Determine how you want to express it with your words and tone
- Create the space for the conversation to take place
- Ask yourself, “Am I willing and ready to be vulnerable?”
- Ask yourself if you’re curious about how the other person reacts
- Be willing to let go of your expectations of outcome
It seems like a lot, and for some it might be daunting. What I know from working with many clients is just one little shift in our kaleidoscope yields rewards we could never even imagine.
Until the next time,