Superheros & Superpowers ~ Which Superpower Do You Posses?
A few days ago I had a dream that I actually remember. A little background… I have two dogs, one named Ziggy and the other named Zorro and recently I have been having conversations with people about having conversations with people. Both of these things came together and created this dream.
In this dream Zorro came to me, not Zorro the dog but Zorro the person. Zorro said, somewhat dejectedly, “I am a superhero with superpowers and all I want is to be understood”.
Okay, let that sink in for a moment.
And now let this sink in… The ability to understand one another is the superpower we each possess and can access.
How often do we have conversations that frustrate us, anger both us and the other and leave both feeling not heard, not understood and not seen. What is it that gets in the way of accessing our superpower of listening? I am segueing into one of my favorite topics, fear and love.
I am suggesting that when we enter a conversation from a place based in fear or are somehow transported there during a conversation our ability to understand diminishes.
We become preoccupied creating responses to what we think is being said. We become INVESTED in being right. We become INVESTED in winning. We lose sight that the goal of conversing is not to be right or to win but to communicate, to understand. When we are able to deeply understand one another our empathy toward one another increases, the connection between us deepens and mutual understanding increases.
I offer you a few suggestions on how to enter conversations residing and remaining in the House of Love:
Set an intention ~ the key here is that the intention come from a place of love. As an example, “My intention for this conversation is to understand why my partner-in-conversation seems to believe it is important to_________________.” See how different that is from, “My ____ needs to stop ____ and I have to make them understand why.”?
Plan only your initial few sentences ~ the key here is to have those sentences reflect your intention. An example, “_____, I want to understand why____ seems to be important to you. Can you explain it to me, please?”
When you find yourself wanting to interrupt and say “But.”, instead say “uh-huh” or gently say “Can I ask for clarification?” or “Can you say more about that?” Or don’t say anything and breathe in for a count of four, exhale for a count of four…
Periodically say, “I want to make sure I understand accurately, it sounds like you are saying that… Is that right?”
When your partner-in-conversation confirms that you do understand and you feel as though you do, investigate if you feel the need for your views on the subject to be understood.
If you do, say “Thank you for explaining it so clearly, I would like to share my views with you; do you think now is a good time?” If now isn’t a good time negotiate a time for later, ideally within a few days.
When you do share your views it may be helpful to set an intention along the lines of, “My intention for this conversation is to speak clearly and calmly in order for my partner-in-conversation to be able to hear and understand me.
If you feel yourself becoming heated, agitated or frustrated at any time, take some deep breathes and ask yourself, “What would Love say?” and say it.
When you have both understood one another you may be able to reach a compromise, make a decision or agree to disagree. Each of you will leave the conversation feeling respected, cared for and understood, which is a gift you have given one another.
This may feel like you are speaking a foreign language, don’t give up! And don’t blame yourself when you fall back into the old patterns of communicating that live in the House of Fear. Remind yourself that you have relocated and find your way to your new home.
Let me know what you think of this post and, if you try any of these suggestions, how it works out for you.
I leave you with these two tidbits:
Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad.
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When things go wrong, I seem to be bad.
But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good:
Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood.
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus for the Jazz singer and pianist Nina Simone, Wikipedia,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_Let_Me_Be_Misunderstood
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, Stephen R. Covey