Earlier this year in a meeting with one of my mentors at SFU I realized that one way I can communicate (and love) others better is by explaining myself – and by that I mean this. I can be a very inquisitive creature. Some call it “questioning”.. it’s even at the centre of my manifesto (question everything). Often I am just curious, but sometimes my ego gets in the way and I am trying to make a point. Usually in these cases I am not understanding and fully listening to the person talking… but sometimes people might assume that is what I am doing even when my intentions are purely focused on learning and understanding. Either way, the point is, by prefacing my intentions with context (why am I asking this) I can be clearer for my others, and when my ego gets in the way – myself.
Recently I learned that there is another way I can better love and communicate with others:
I was talking with this girl who was mentioning how she was not very good with words and was not very articulate. I immediately was surprised and told her that was was, in fact, quite articulate. Someone jokingly said that of course I know her better than she knows herself. I was so surprised, I never realized that my act of faith and goodwill might be misinterpreted and offending like that. I didn’t mean that I knew her better than she knew herself. Though perhaps I was discovering her more than she was discovering herself (opening up to limitless possibilities). I quickly rephrased my comment and acknowledgement to state that I THOUGHT she was very articulate. I wonder which has more power:
- I think you are _____ OR
- You are _______
I think the first option leaves less room for the mis-interpretation I described, however the second is more affirming – it creates someone to be something. It is definitive.
Now I am remembering my experience at the PostSecret LIVE event last year. I was given a book by Frank Warren that said “the world needs your voice” inside. It has become quite my self-fulfilling prophecy. What if it had said “i think the world needs your voice”. I wonder what the difference would be.
In contrast sometimes I myself put myself down – mostly by accident or unintentionally when speaking. I wish others would call me on this and acknowledge me. I think often myself and other do it unintentionally – but it does make a difference. Or… i think it makes a difference : P
YOU ARE INFINITE. I THINK YOU ARE INFINITE : )
PS: some background on this practice of acknowledgement can be found: