So we are sitting at dinner between Christmas and New Year. My friend, his 9 year old daughter and I. We'd been chatting about lots of things. Christmas. Their upcoming holiday. And lots more. Then my friend's daughter expressed her strong belief around a particular external rule she'd be navigating over the break. And then something really cool happened.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. If you listen, you may learn something new.” - Dalai Lama
Her conviction was impressive. She'd thought out her reasoning. She had examples to back up her points. She spoke passionately, but also in a respectful way. Then she choose to listen. Both her father and I took on board what she'd confidently expressed. Affirming her thoughts as valid and important. Then shared some of our own beliefs around the topic.
“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” - Stephen R. Covey
She listened. Really listened. Agreeing that this external rule may actually be needed for some of the reasons that were being brought up. It didn't mean that she had to give up why she'd wanted a change to be made though. She was able to hold more than one thing to be true at the same time, while understanding that certain decisions are necessary to support, look after or help those who'd be using this shared space. It was a really inspiring conversation to be a part of.
“Most of us are so focused on what we are thinking that we miss most of what goes on in our conversations.” - John Stoker
How often do we close off to, rather than remain open to, different perspectives, ideas or choices? I'm sure, like all of us, this isn't the same way my friend's daughter chooses to listen every time a potential conflict comes up. But like all of us, when choosing to navigate listening in this way she experiences the deepening of connection, learning and growth that is opened up. As we courageously move beyond needing to be right, we can authentically embrace and celebrate the wholeness of what makes up the individual and collective truth.
“Anyone can talk, but to listen is a gift, we should all exchange” ― J. Benson