When I know that what the other person is saying is wrong, I find it incredibly hard to listen openly. It’s easy to shut out everything else they say the moment I catch it. I immediately self-protect and get angry and righteous.
Communication is the thing we all get wrong. Instead of saying, this is what I heard, or as Brene Brown would say, “when I said this, and then you did this, this is the story I’m telling myself…” in effect giving the other person a chance to correct a misunderstanding… we go on the attack, or we shut down. Our hurt and our truth is the truth, and that’s all there is to it. But the other person has a truth too. They also have a story about how things went down.
What if, instead of walling up, we actually do listen? What if we go on a scavenger hunt and listen for what we can understand, what we can latch onto that we can work from? Would that hurt our egos too much? Would that make us wrong and too vulnerable? Am I too angry and hurt to want to heal from this? How important is this relationship to me?
You might say, it’s just too exhausting, and I’m sick of being the one doing all the work. Because no chance they’re saying the same thing…
It’s really exhausting to carry that anger and hurt. We’ve just built up a nice habit of doing it. But alas it breaks us all down.
Both options are exhausting, but one has promise. There are times when we do need to walk away. Just make sure it’s not coming from the wall. It is very possible to walk away with love and blessing. It is also very possible to stoke the relationship with love and blessing.