Are you listening to the words that people are saying or are you hearing the underlying meaning of what those words are revealing about others’ perspective and internal experience?
Sometimes the things that people say come across as offensive or judgmental and it is easy to get caught up in indignation when you respond to their words. However, if you take a moment to shift your perspective you can always find a way to empathize. Their words, though offensive, are a confused way of making a request for their needs to be met.
Our feelings are designed to guide us and when we do not listen to them, we communicate in a muddled manner. When this happens we speak from raw emotion and misunderstanding. This type of communication is an attempt at dealing with our feelings without fully understanding the source of the emotion. At that point it is easy to judge circumstances and people as the cause of our feelings and, as a result, say things that could be interpreted as rude or snarky.
We all do this at times, but we also have the power to consciously look for ways to heal the cycle of oblivious communication. When someone is requesting something and they are using words that could be translated as offensive, you can use that as an opportunity to see who they really are and open a channel for compassion and understanding. Rather than reacting to the words and perpetuating miscommunication, you can hear the emotion behind the words. You can listen to their heartache, fear, and uncertainty.
When you learn to shift your focus from the person’s judgmental attitude and offensive point of view and instead hear a loud request to feel better, then being offended becomes less likely. When you tune into your own heart and hear what the other person is really asking for, you can better understand what would heal the underlying negative emotion. The more you listen and understand people, the more that listening feels like giving a big gift.
You can use their words to peer into their heart and connect at the level of soul. When you interact on this level, it is our experience that conflict is resolved in minutes. Shine the light of intention on the heart of the person you are speaking to and your own heart. Empathize with yourself that the words they are using are hard to hear. Do not sacrifice your feelings for the sake of others.
Honor your own truth while prioritizing the desire to feel good. Fighting and misunderstanding never feels good in the long run. No one wins in a fight. You aren’t serving yourself by digging in and defending your beliefs. Hear their pain and feel your own emotions in reaction to their words. Empathy and compassion trump ignorance and hatred.