Taking the time to listen
When we start to ask people how they feel about something, we must be prepared to simply shut up and listen.
Too often we jump into defending our actions without fully listening to how the other person was impacted by them. When we cut them short and jump into defending ourselves, we are demonstrating that what we intended is more important than how they experienced it.
With all that is going on right now in the world, we must listen and acknowledge how people feel and experience a situation. How someone experienced a situation is uniquely their experience which we must acknowledge, regardless of the intentions of the other.
It is imperative we all take the time to listen to these stories that people tell us, and if it is not congruent with how you felt about the situation, then that needs to be explored and discussed. But not before taking time to reflect on your own actions and exploring how perhaps they contributed to the situation. If you find this challenging, remember that understanding does not mean the same thing as agreement.
We all have different filters by which we see the world, and have different reactions to it based on these. If we are consistently given feedback on ourselves that does not align with our intentions and expected outcomes. Then we need to seek feedback on why that to improve that for more congruence between our intentions, expectations and actual effect.
So take the time to listen, by doing so you show respect and build trust with the other; you increase understanding and provide them a safe environment to share by listening without judgment; you create the opportunity to fine tune the alignment between your inner intentions and the actual effects of your behaviour on the other person.
This simple action creates the space for the conversation to start, and for interpersonal growth to happen.