January 9 - Listen to What You Are Saying!


 Sometimes when I am sharing the kind of great wisdom with others that I think only I could possibly see about them, I feel myself stutter in the middle of my next thought. “Whoops,” I question, while not really wanting the answer, “to whom am I speaking anyway?”

“I am speaking to me,” I realize quickly. “I am the one that really needs to be hearing what I am saying!” A client of mine put it well this morning when he said, “I know I am pointing one finger at my wife and three back at myself.”

He gave an example of when he would think she had put on a few pounds...he almost always subsequently found that he needed to get on a scale himself! If he were ever angry with her because he perceived her to be procrastinating, it would be much more helpful for him to look around his world to see what he had put off himself.

When he was noticing that she was not very interested in his day, he would not at the same time be showing much interest in hers.

My favorite line is, “I would never, ever do that to him/her!” Better look again! While I might not do it in exactly the same way, my actions usually have the very same effect. So, I have started asking myself, “Who am I that I see him/her as that?”

For example, if your spouse has a problem with alcohol and drinks excessively, you may not drink at all. But what addictive habit do you engage in excessively? Could you complain, eat, work, or even withdraw excessively? Sometimes it takes a little looking, but I honestly have never seen a situation where the loved one was not reflecting some form of the complainer’s own behavior.

What if our complaints about our spouses (partners, parents, friends, siblings, etc.) were really just taps on our shoulders to get our attention so that we could grow and develop ourselves? What might happen if instead of saying “I would never do that to you” we said instead, “I am wondering what I might do that bothers you” and then listened curiously to the answer our dear ones struggled to retrieve?

What if we used their answers to help us design our next step toward improving our relationship with each other and ourselves? How might that change the direction of our relationships? What if we took every complaint we ever had about another and thoroughly investigated how we might actually engage in the same behavior or habit ourselves?

When we look inside of ourselves to discover the reasons for our discontent, we can be very pleasantly surprised by what we are able to learn and accomplish! Happy hunting for this hidden and powerful treasure!

What are some of your complaints about a loved one? Have you ever, ever triggered that complaint in another? Are you certain? Would you be willing to ask around? Even if no one else has an answer, how would you honestly answer this question, “Who am I that I see you as that”? Are you willing to see the rest of the picture that this question might reveal? Are you willing to listen carefully to what it is you say?


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