Friday, November 07, 2008

Talk About It

Early on in our relationship, Daniel and I had a disagreement that basically arose from us not communicating. I can’t remember the specific details now, but the situation became uncomfortable because we didn’t talk about it. I do remember sitting with him on the couch and telling him, “Wow! This is a bigger deal than it needed to be. All you had to do was tell me.” We talked about whatever that issue was – I can’t for the life of me remember - and Daniel immediately felt better. We agreed that for us to work, we had to have an open line of communication even if it meant we were momentarily uncomfortable getting “it” out there on the table.

As a manager I used to have all these catch phrases I ran my store by:

“You can’t find the answer unless you ask questions.”
“You can’t move forward unless you understand where you’ve been.”

I’ve adjusted those ideals to my personal relationships:

“You cannot expect to be understood unless you make an effort to understand the other side.”

Two days ago I did a post about something that is very important to me. It was a personal observation about my marriage, about my friends who had that right taken away from them, and what I plan to teach my children. I was absolutely delighted to see that my words had touched people and inspired them to join the dialogue about this issue. I’ve found the comments left to be very thoughtful and thought provoking and I invite you to join in.

I try very hard to be an open-minded person. I’m a good listener and someone who prefers peace to confrontation. I don’t feel like we get anywhere by pointing fingers, raising voices, or judging. I think that the only way to move forward, to create change and reach understanding is to sit down and listen to each other. We all come from different walks of life. Different circumstances and values have shaped who we are as people. We all want what is best for our families. We all think we are right. Sometimes I wonder if we forget that it is entirely possible that we can also be wrong.

I think communication and recognizing where we are the same and/or agree is a step in the right direction. Start on common ground and work from there. Is that just naïve or idealistic of me? Maybe.

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