I am engaged in challenging dialogues with a number of people I love very much.
These dialogues are not always easy. In fact, at moments they are more than challenging.
Sometimes, I feel defensive because some of what they say that is critical of me contains truth. Sometimes, I feel scared, because if I speak my truth I think they won’t like me. Sometimes, I feel angry, because I think they are judging or misunderstanding me.
Oh my, the tangle of emotions I can create! When my desire is to engage in positive dialogue, I can so easily get off course. I am reminded of St. Paul in Romans 7:15. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
But I also am reminded of another wise man, Stephen Covey, who says,
If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Ah, that’s right. Its not about me. Or at least not only me. These dialogues are about US.
Indeed, all things, life, go much better when I remember that everything is part of a bigger picture.