“I will do everything in my power to resolve every conflict, however small.”
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
What is your Intention when you communicate? Many of us have never given this much thought. That was true for me until I began studying Compassionate Communication. If you take a close look at the quality of your relationships, you can get a pretty good idea of your (unconscious) Intentions.
Sonya and I have a sign posted in big bold letters next to our front door -
"DO I WANT TO BE RIGHT OR DO I WANT TO CONNECT?"
Now, when I get into an argument with Sonya, that saying often pops into my mind, which causes me to pause and shift from my righteous attitude to a more conciliatory, empathic mode of trying to understand Sonya's feelings and needs. This change in my attitude and behavior sets the stage for a respectful dialogue with Sonya and a
positive outcome usually ensues that meets both our needs. (Please note that having the Intention to connect does not mean you necessarily agree with the other person or that you give up on your needs.)
Mary Mackenzie writes about Connection in her wonderful Daily Meditation Book - Peaceful Living:
"I Want to Connect More Than I want to Be Right"
What do you value most? I value connection more than anything. If I connect with people, all of us have a better chance of getting our needs met. The alternative is to try to win or be right. I used to do this with a vengeance. Years ago I was working with a woman who was learning fundraising techniques from me. She mentioned how scared she was about asking someone to make a donation and I said,
"Oh, it's not hard. You just have to get out there and do it."
I thought I was right about fundraising being easy and so I set out to convince her of my rightness, rather than connecting to her feelings and needs. We ended up in an argument over whether fundraising was easy or hard. Had I simply connected to her feelings and needs, the conversation would have gone entirely differently. "Oh, so you want to learn to do this, but you're scared that it will be hard."
I don't feel at peace when I'm trying to be right. Deeply connecting instead helps me open to the possibility that everyone's needs will be met. Consider making your goal connection instead of winning. I think you'll be amazed at the result. Such a simple shift will bring harmony and hope into your relationships.
Peaceful Living by Mary Mackenzie, pp. 137-138
Exercise: Remind yourself at least 3 times each day for the next 7 days that you want to connect more than you want to be right. Affirm mindfully: "I want to connect with people more than I want to be right."
Notice how this feels and how it changes your attitude!
Here's to the Joy of Connecting with Others!
Aloha Nui Loa,
David & Sonya ki