Them’s Fighting Words

I have been writing about active listening and good communication techniques–Listen 1st, Think 2nd, Speak Last–which to me is just good sense with the bonus of being civil.  Someone commented to me, “So what? You’re saying that everybody should just turn the other cheek and get whipped with words all the time?”   What I wanted to say was, “For real?”  But since I do try to “practice what I preach”, I chose to not respond for fear that I’d go slap the {bleep} off.  Tard.

So! For the record:

I would never advocate that you do not defend your position or engage in debate. Rather, I am interested and excited to see people involved in healthy debate about positions–just not personal feelings. We should not become so personally invested in our opinions that we feel attacked when another person responds. When we attempt to defend a statement that we’ve made, we often intertwine that with defending ourselves. Most comments or responses are not aimed at hurting us personally, and we should learn to tell the difference between a response and an attack. As for those situations where people really are attacking us, those verbal assaults also require (even more so) our undivided listening and thinking processes before response. People who attack still have intent–usually having nothing to do with you, but with themselves and poor self image.

Why do we always feel attacked? It is all about self image. When our self image is unhealthy, we perceive others as also having low opinions of us (self esteem). When our self esteem is low, every comment becomes an attack. We respond emotionally, attempting to block perceived offenses. Commentators and onlookers are left confused and slighted trying to figure out what set you off.

If we stop ourselves and began to listen, think, and then respond, we can avert such costly mistakes and break the cycle of responding out of poor self image and low self esteem. We can replace that bad habit with one that will create a positive atmosphere for good communication.

God bless, and remember–Don’t be no punk, but don’t be a fool either!  Monitor yourself, and the rest will be what it is.

2 Comments

  1. It’s very true what you write and things are only getting worse. I wrote something sort of similar recently on how offended people are at nearly everything these days. I’ve had people call me all sorts of this hiding behind a screen name. Luckily I’m way past feeling hurt and only feel sorry for them.

    1. I know! That used to be me, though. So I learned to pay attention to what was being said–but also to divorce myself from my personal feelings when talking to others about my ideas.

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