A dozen people participated this morning in a two-hour open-ended discussion of human development. After a while the conversation was developing around the question — What makes you think you need to be understood? It wandered, as conversations will do, but came to — Being understood implies that we are connected to the other person. The converse of that is when we feel we are being judged the door of connection is closed. But being judged is not the same as being argued with about some subject of common interest where there is mutual respect for the other person’s point of view. Being judged has the quality of — Don’t bother me with your assumptions and facts, you’re wrong and that’s the end of our conversation. Don’t bother me, and just go away. On the other hand, an open-door attitude of polite argument is connecting with a mind interested in new ideas. It’s attitude is more like — There’s always another version of the vision, or perhaps it’s the other way around, there’s always another vision of the version. That kind of conversation is interesting, and brings people together with a feeling of mutual understanding and trust.
[ In some situations, like at work, it’s as if a person is valued solely by how much they produce, or sometimes it’s who are one’s friends. Someone complained that they never got any validation from their teenage children. That comment got me to thinking — Does anyone get any validation from anyone? Do people ever get any validation even from themselves? Do I even exist if nobody sees me? Do I only exist for another when I am doing something the the other individual personally wants done for them? People will sink into despair when they aren’t seen and are never acknowledged. ]
We can speak to people in a tone of voice that shows we are expecting them to get it at the highest level of what we are saying to them, and then they do get it. However, when we put hesitancy into our voice the listener puts hesitancy into his understanding. When we put doubt into the sound of our words we put doubt into their belief. When we put the feeling of tranquility within ourselves into our talking people will understand us more deeply, and when we feel contentment with the world when we speak of it the understanding goes into the hearer’s soul.
There was a moment when I was talking that I looked around the group and they were all paying rapt attention to me. I was talking about inner love as being manifest in the behavior of paying attention to the other person. So perhaps for those few moments that dozen people was feeling love for me. It was comfortable.
Love is paying close attention to another’s positive qualities.