Refining the art of listening.
Story: Josselyne Herman-Saccio
Friends are fighting. Families are fighting. Politicians are fighting. Has humanity really been reduced to arguments over who’s right and who’s wrong? What if the key to unlocking a new way of being human in today’s divisive world is as simple as the language we use? Language can help us create a way of being that exists outside our differences.
It’s time to learn this new language: the language of being.
The lid on what’s possible for families, communities, countries, and the people of the world isn’t our circumstances. It’s not what’s happening to us; it’s the language we’re using to deal with what’s happening. To alter what’s possible, we can use language to access new ways of being with the people and issues we encounter.
For example, consider a new term to identify what is happening when we are too busy making people wrong in our minds to actually listen to what they are saying. Let’s call that mental state—that busy, judgmental, chatty inner voice—the “already always listening.”
The “already always listening” is a blind spot for people. It’s a filter through which we’re listening to others speak, and we’re not really listening. This lens or filter of “already always listening” is the internal dialogue in your head whenever you are listening to someone. It is constantly asking: Is it good? Is it bad? Is it wrong? Is it right?
This internal noise adds judgments or opinions to everything that’s being said, so it skews what is being communicated and leaves you receiving something different based on the makeup of your particular filter. We get so caught up filtering ideas through what we “already” know to be “always” true that we never actually hear what we’re being told.
Now what? We can create the possibility in our lives of not making people wrong. There are as many opinions in this world as there are people, and not one of them is “right.” How much more could we accomplish in our lives, our relationships, and our communities if we didn’t need to make anyone wrong?
- When we make ourselves wrong through self-doubt and internal criticism, our self-image and self-esteem suffer.
- When we make another’s viewpoint wrong, we close ourselves off from others, shutting down opportunities to listen and to be heard, as well as to understand or to be understood.
- When we make others wrong, our relationships suffer.
It’s time to explore a new way of being in the world through language tools that open a doorway so people can create new possibilities. When we recognize our blind spots, we can begin to make new choices and create new outcomes for ourselves and our lives.
The more we allow people to have their views and opinions and to be heard by us outside of any need to make them “right” or “wrong,” the more we make room for the possibility of a unified family, community, nation, and world. We have the power to transform the “great divides” in our own lives and, amazingly, that’s also where the global transformation begins.
About the writer
Josselyne Herman-Saccio is a communication expert with Landmark, a personal and professional growth, training, and development company that has had more than 2.4 million people use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives and communities. For more information, visit landmarkworldwide.com.