Between your intention and your actions and words, there is always a space filled with your beliefs, memories, stories and wounds.
Then, between your actions and words and their impact on someone else, there is always a space filled with their beliefs, memories, stories and wounds.
Both spaces can be smaller or broader depending on the context, but they are always there. They are a sort of defence system shielding us from the outside world.
Unfortunately, most of the time, we are not aware of what happens inside those spaces. How often have you been disappointed by how your actions have been received despite your best intentions?
Unfortunately, we only see other people actions, and from there, we judge their intentions. And our perception of their actions is filtered by our own biases.
The results are often misunderstandings when not conflicts and tensions.
Just by being aware of those spaces, we can increase the quality of our exchange with others. Then, by nurturing trust, we can let go of those shields and begin to really see each other.
Lately, I came across a few situations that made me realize how much potential we waste because we don’t talk to each other.
People spend time and energy figuring out what their boss or colleagues want instead of asking. Groups where everyone is unhappy because nobody dares to share what they think and feel.
I remember this story from an insightful book title Nonflict by Amir Kfir and Stephen Hecht.
Two chefs are fighting over the last lemon in the kitchen. They’re shouting at each other and waving knives. The restaurant manager runs in, worried that the fight could escalate and someone gets hurt.
He takes a knife, split the lemon in two and gives half to each of the chefs. However, neither of them is happy, so the manager asked why they need the lemon.
It turned out that one chef needed the lemon zest while the other only required the juice.
They could have avoided the fight just by talking to each other—what a waste of time and energy.
Talk, ask, share what’s in your mind and heart.
It is like a superpower.
This morning I had one of those generative conversations with my dear friend Vanessa, and this question came up.
What are you waiting for?
In these exceptional times, I often have the feeling that a lot of us, particularly our leaders, are holding on and waiting for something to happen and solve everything.
I don’t know what, and I’m quite sure nobody knows, but we wait. A cure, a saviour, a brilliant solution that will make all of this disappear?
I have no idea.
Though we wait.
And we hold on.
But how long can we do it?
How long can you hold on?
I’ve always been a master of holding on.
I held on so many times in my life while I was waiting for things to happen, for someone to say something, for changes to manifest.
I held on without doing or saying nothing but waiting.
Sometimes my waiting was rewarded, often I just remained hanging and bitter, until I forgot what I was waiting for.
Maybe I’m just getting older, and I don’t have the energy to hold on as I used to. Or perhaps I am changing.
What I know is that lately, I asked myself that question a few times; “what am I waiting for?”
And then, I found the courage to talk, to ask and to act.
Small things, for now, it is still a long journey.
Yet something is shifting, and things are happening around me.
If you feel you’re not living the life you want, or you’re not getting the things you desire, or you’re not getting the answers you seek, or maybe you do not see the change you yearn, then check with yourself if you’re just holding on and waiting.
In that case, allow me to ask you with the utmost love and respect; what are you waiting for?
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash
I’ve learned that in every situation, the quality of my presence informs the quality of my experience.
It may be obvious to say, but being fully present in what I am doing, it’s not so easy.
Life is so full and hectic that it’s hard to silence everything but one thing, the one in which I am engaged.
Yet, when I do it. When I am fully present, the experience shifts to a higher level.
I’ve also learned that I can’t be fully present to many things at the same time. So, I need to choose wisely where I want to put my attention.
In a conversation, for example, I can be present to the outcome or to the people in the conversation. Or maybe both.
I’ve learned that my choice informs how I show up in the conversation.
When I focus on the outcome, my “get things done” self shows up. The pace is faster, I look for opportunities to move forward, and my cognitive intelligence is on the driving seat. When I focus on the people in the conversation, the quality of my listening change. It gets more profound, and I naturally slow down.
Can a conversation with myself be really candid and honest?
This question came up for me this morning, while I was trying to see a clear path amidst the chaos of thoughts in my head.
I think I am good at introspection.
I love to dive into my own feelings and thoughts and dig out some truth.
I cherish the long conversations with myself, in which I’m the one asking tough questions and the one struggling to answer at the same time.
But are these inner conversations disruptive enough?
As much as I think I’m honest with myself – nobody is eavesdropping the conversations in my head – I still run in circles within the box that I built over the years.
So yes, I’m having honest conversations, but only reaffirming what I already know.
That’s why I need to surround myself with people who can ask me the healthy questions, the ones that help me see the box in which I am so I can break through it and grow.
We can’t go past our own web of beliefs and stories until someone, or something from the outside make that same web visible to us.