Today I’m gonna talk about relationships. And what I’m gonna talk about are more romantic relationships, although this can be applied across the board. This could be applied to friendships and co-workers, and business, an employee, or maybe a boss depending on where you’re working, and also just friends. So just any interpersonal relationship.
Often times what happens, especially in our daily life, we have things coming at us all the time. We have text messages, phone calls, emails, the TV’s on, the radio’s on. We’re always constantly being stimulated. Often times, that affects our communication. The reason it affects our communication is often times things are said and misinterpreted. This can happen by text messages or chats, often, because you can’t hear the emotion that somebody is sending through. You can really misinterpret that.
But even talking one-on-one, you can misinterpret the intention of something that somebody says in our busy lifestyle. So let me give you an example, this is an old example from way back when my wife and I were just married, or just started dating actually, something that could have happened. I don’t have one off recollection, but this is the way it might go and you might be able to relate to this. Maybe I came home from work and I just notices that the kitchen counter was just messy.
I might have said, “Geez the kitchen’s so messy.” She might have replied right away, taking offense, thinking I was attacking her, saying, “Well gosh, I’m working all day too. You could do something.” And then that would escalate. “Hey, that’s not what I meant.” But by saying that’s not what I meant, does that ever really help? No. no one stops and goes, “Oh that’s not what you meant. Well geeze, please tell me.” It doesn’t work that way. Emotions start to escalate. They go up an escalation ladder.
Backing into that, she would ask for an apology. “Apologize to me.”
“Well I’m not apologizing,” I would say. “You know, I didn’t say anything wrong. You’re just being sensitive,” which is always guys, the worst thing to say. Back then, I just wasn’t as clear. I’d be like, “Look I’m not apologizing. I wasn’t wrong in this situation. I just simply made an observation that the counter is a mess, and you took it the wrong way. That’s your fault, your problem.” I know this sounds like I’m being a jerk, and I’m making this example up, but I kind of was a jerk I guess, because I didn’t know any better back then. I didn’t want to apologize. My pride did not want me to apologize, and my integrity, because I didn’t want to lie and say, “Gee, I’m sorry, you know, that I said that,” because I wasn’t sorry I said it.
But what I came to understand is, what I really was sorry for, was the way that she felt. I never wanted to hurt her feelings. I love and cherish my wife. I want her to always be happy. So what I’ve learned to do over time is apologize for the way the other person feels, the way that my words landed. I own that responsibility between the communication, between what comes out of my mouth and how it lands in that other person’s brain.
What I would say now is, “Geez I’m so sorry I hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean that at all, and I love and cherish you. So let my example be what I’m trying to say.” When I say that, I’ve taken ownership. I’ve apologized for hurting her feelings. Now her defenses go down. Her defenses go down so she can relax and actually receive what I’m about to say. Where previously, it would just be her defenses would go up, and then she would react. My defenses would go up, I would react, and we’d go back and forth of this volley, that was never productive. And resolving it both by sitting on the couch upset, or me going to my office and her going somewhere else. And just that constant clash until we’re able to make up.
This happens all across the board. It happens in business often, it happens with friends. What I’ve learned to do is take responsibility for my words on how they land on the other people. This doesn’t mean lying or apologizing for what I say. Sometimes I do if I say something wrong, of course. But often times it’s like, “Hey I’m sorry that didn’t land properly. Let me try this again. I really respect you, and I really want you to understand where I’m coming from, and I want to understand where you’re coming from and make sure you feel heard.”
Now, if someone told you that, how do you react? Do you get angry? No. You’re like, “Wow. This person wants to hear what I have to say?” And yes, yes I do. I want to make you feel heard. I don’t only want to hear you, I want to make you feel heard. That’s a big difference. So if my wife were to say something to me, then I could come back and repeat it back to her, but she may not feel heard. That’s a difference. That took me a while to learn the difference between feeling heard and being heard.
I can recite things verbatim, very logically, exactly what she said. But to her, she didn’t feel heard. She didn’t feel understood is really what she was telling me from the heart center. That’s how we are all communicating, whether you realize that or not. In business, often times, we are doing business, so my life as a coach, I have to actually feel into what people are saying. When I feel and I focus on the present, people are allowed to pour out. They’re allowed to tap into the best of themselves. I create that physical space in space, that they can actually come into, and step into their power.
I want the same thing. So what I’m gonna talk to you about, is what I want you to do is list maybe the top five most important relationships in your life right now. The top five. What I want you to journal about is, where in those top five have you had conflicts, and maybe or you’ve had conflicts where you don’t feel fully understood or heard. What I want you to do to is reach out to those people. Reach out to each of these people and then I want you to listen. I want you to fully hear them. I want you to call them.
Maybe I’ll call a friend of mine, Perry. Maybe I’ll reach out and say, “Hey Perry, you know, I know the last time that we talked, things were just a little off. But I really want to understand where you’re coming from, and it’s really important to me, our friendship is really important to me. And I really want to know what’s going on. So talk to me. Tell me what’s happening? What’s going on right now? And I want to make sure you feel heard. Now after Perry exchanges, sometimes it can be uncomfortable for a lot of people, but you need to step into that power because this is your life. This is your story. You’re the author of your own story, and you want to live an epic life.
An epic life has connection. Sometimes that requires you to be braver than the other person, and step out into an uncomfortable space. When you step out to this uncomfortable space and having this dialogue, I might say after Perry’s done telling me, I’ll say, “Geez. That’s really interesting. You know, what I’m hearing you say,” and repeat back. Now again, often times especially when I’m talking to guys, I might switch it up a little bit, but it sounds a little therapy-ish, but they actually walk away feeling really good. It’s like, “Holy cow, like how often is someone really listening to you?”
I’ll talk to them. I’ll say, “Hey look, last time we talked, you know we walked away from the conversation. It just didn’t feel good, and I want to apologize for not communicating as well as I could because again, this relationship’s really important to me.” Now, I’m not apologizing for anything I said, but I’m apologizing for the way it landed. Again, I want you to pull out your journal, write down your top five people. Write down any recent conflicts or miscommunications. When I say miscommunication, communications where you have not felt fully understood, completely understood, or you know that they haven’t felt fully understood. Now go clear that up.
Now remember, this is the time to take action. Yeah, you can call them tomorrow, next week, but in my experience, that never happens. So call now. Call them, write them, email them, now. Do it. Take action. You will feel so much better, and so will they. And you’ll be stepping into your power. I can guarantee you, that just by doing this one simple exercise, you’ll feel better about yourself, you’ll have more energy, and it’ll allow you to fulfill your dreams that much quicker.
That’s all I have today. If you liked this, of course, build your tribe. Share this with five people you know. In fact, you could share this with the five people that you’re going to talk to, and tell them you’re doing this exercise. Share the love. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to make the world a better place, and we’re here to help you become the author of your own story. So part of that is building your tribe, and by building your tribe, tell people what you’re listening to. Tell people, share those conversations. These conversations you and I are having, right here, right now, share them with people.
That’s it for me today. Remember to go out and be the author of your own story.
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