What Did You Hear?

Creative Commons via socialsignal.com

When you feel misunderstood, it doesn’t always have to do with the communications of others. There are times where you can see certain actions and hear certain words and your interpretation can be quite wrong.

You see, we have these funny things called human emotions which sometimes disrupt our brains ability to hear words as they are intended by the person who is saying them.

And yet, it is not uncommon to believe that if we simply say the same words over and over again, they will ultimately be understood.  But as emotions grow, the barriers between the person listening and the person talking can grow larger because there needs to be something that intervenes to remove the emotion of the situation.

Identifying the existence of emotion is usually pretty clear.  People may…

  • Divert their attention from answering the conversation directly,
  • Become defensive or lash out at the person they are communicating with, or
  • Simply walk away or be non-responsive.

Removing the emotional context can be much more challenging.  It can be useful to…

  • Recognize that the communication isn’t being productive internally,
  • Resist the urge to become defensive and own that perhaps the way you are communicating isn’t working for the other person,
  • Determine if the situation would be better served with some time and space, but choose a time to come back to resolve, or
  • Try to evaluate what could make the conversation better for both of you.

Earlier today, I found myself in a conversation which was tough.  We both stopped and decided to write down what we heard the other person saying.  The short time, space and perspective was helpful to getting the conversation to a much better plain for both parties involved.

Resist the urge to simply stay locked up in the emotional circles of a tough conversation.  Work to resolve the issues and better understand where the emotion comes from.  What you may hear may not always come across the lips of the person you are listening to.

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