Listening, and dialogue, are making a comeback in 2022 and beyond. And, in a healthy way.
There is no need for traditional feedback when we truly listen. Think about the people in your life who you have the most engaging conversations with—the ones who listen to you and take in your perspective regardless of the topic. By being present, they hear you. They listen by giving you their full attention. They have no need to fix or correct you. And usually, no one needs to make points or keep score.
And, who do you truly listen to?
On a collective level, there is not a lot of listening going on. If there was, no one would be feeling offended or judged. And, we would be talking with each other about our greatest opportunities.
The truth of the matter is that we have learned to protect ourselves from getting hurt and as a result, our responses may sting or attack another. There is always an offense and a defense involved, which simply keeps us stuck in the same paradigm of conflict, hurt and misunderstanding.
Our stories are weaved with villains and victims; they play out on our screens and in our lives. But do we need to bring them with us when we can write our own beautiful, and often yet untold, stories?
Dialogue is A Two-Way Street
While it’s time to care a lot about our ability to navigate these times of transformation, it is also an opportunity to care less about certain things and truly let go. Our health, in every aspect, depends on our ability to have a deeper understanding of what is truly in play.
When we are in flow and trust the currents, we simply exist. Of course, we bring our mindfulness with us. But ours may not be shared with those around us who want to correct us and place us back into their vantage point of the world.
Sometimes it’s the jaggedness of their own broken pieces (and heart) that may come at us with their observations of how we show up that creates a need to question our behavior or words.
It sometimes makes people uncomfortable, and even ourselves, when we no longer care as much about being right or being wronged. There is no reason to ‘pick our battles’ when we are no longer in for the fight or need to be liked.
The question is what is acceptable and unacceptable to us, without harming ourselves or those around us?
When we step out of the need to correct another or bring them to our world view, we can have courageous and bold dialogue. The question is what conversations fuel us and which deplete us? We get to determine where we want to invest our energy. What conversations excite us as we trek into unknown territory with courage and curiosity?
Radical Honesty is Foundational to Communication
Leaders who practice conscious communication are aware of why they are communicating. They engage in dialogue, constructive exchanges, questioning, listening, learning and reflecting.
Imagine if organization invested as much as they do conflict management training into creating healthy dialogue and two-way conversations. Stewart Levine is on to something important as a Resolutionary. He asks how can we help people get along and create effectively and intentionally together?
Imagine if we not only had debate clubs in school, but kids learned about the beauty of heart-felt conversations from an early age.
According to the Radical Honesty Institute, honesty “means simply noticing and reporting, without editing, what we feel, what we think, and what we have done. We call this ‘radical honesty’ because it is unusual and distinct from what people typically think of as telling the truth.”
When there’s a shared purpose, there are no sides and no one is in the middle of an argument and needing to be right. There’s no hate unless it’s self-induced. Courage is at the heart of letting go and moving into creation by trusting ourselves deeply. Radical honesty begins within ourselves. And having the guts to unlearn and be real. No drama or victims or villains … just flow.
Dialogue that Connects and Moves Us
Imagine the depth of co-creation we can have in life, and at work, when we truly put our swords down and connect heart-to-heart. When we choose to dive in to true dialogue, we will find:
- An ability to play—not argue or fight—with ideas and possibilities
- A world beyond right and wrong and needing to be efficient where we give ourselves permission to experiment
- Our excitement to venture into places we only imagined by allowing us to care less about what others think of us and more about how we dream, connect and create together
And so much more that is personal. We don’t need to bring our hurt and pain everywhere we go when our inner dialogue allows us to experience other emotions available to each and every person on earth.
What’s the next heart blowing conversation you plan to engage in with yourself or another? What will you gift yourself today?
What role does dialogue play when you see it as a pure exchange?