What Do You Know? – Part 1

knowA sure-fire way to undermine trust and to damage relationships is to presume to know a person’s motives for their behaviour. It is a common mistake we can all make without realising that we often simply cannot know what we cannot see or hear. The awkwardness (and time) involved in discovering motives openly and honestly will need enough humility to accept that all may not be as it seems. Of course, a helpful alternative is to let an issue go if we cannot talk it through. To simply see the best in people may allow us to store a recollection for later reference, but without allowing associated emotions to fester.

When people do try to address conflicts or concerns, it is not easy for them to own their feelings as their own or to simply ask why the other person has acted in a particular way without then becoming indignant or upset. To avoid conflict, though, can then take us to unhealthy venting or complaining which are not solution-focused. Neither extreme is ultimately helpful.

Presuming to know a motive is perhaps justified only where there is clear evidence, and even then there may be another interpretation that has to be considered. To talk calmly and sincerely with a focus on facts is perhaps too coolly rational when we are emotional beings, so active listening aims for the heart and helps to build trust and empathy that can break down walls.

Inviting discussion with appeal and positivity will promote healthier relationships. Nevertheless, this will often mean a counter-intuitive shift from any posturing, ignoring or agitating, but especially from being a little too quick to sum up a situation and to thereby shut others down.

More tomorrow

 

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