When you listen, what do you Honor?

I’m trying to tell her but she just doesn’t get it.  She brushes me off. I explain again. I try to make her see how crucial this is to me.  I become more emphatic.  She ducks and dodges and weaves from my finest arguments.  Finally, I really am arguing and she is too.  Our voices get louder and more and more sarcasm enters the picture. Finally we both are in full-fledged battle.   We break apart……and lick our wounds. 
 
It’s taken me a long time to understand how most of us have learned to communicate with one another.  We learn from our parents. We learn from TV and the movies. But most of those experiences don’t really reinforce positive communication.  From the media, movies, and TV world, positive communication is not good drama or entertainment. A most striking example is the English Parliament where insults and embarrassment appear to be the standard fare. The resolutions appear disappointing if people resolve things without acrimony.
 
Frequently when people discuss things, their focus can be on winning, scoring points, laying down the gauntlet, embarrassing their opponent. Sometimes it can manifest as absolute and total denial.  People want to preserve their identity and their illusions, particularly about their own image. Especially in America where we definitely have a whole sports culture that says that winning is everything. Every issue is engagement.
 
In marriage, relationships, and sometimes the work world this doesn’t work well.  We can’t run over our spouse, dominate our kids, and do whatever we want. 
 
One way to have a more adult relationship is to be “continually & willfully mindful” of what we are saying and what we are doing. I call this CWM.   When I fix this thought with a little axiom I can then fix it in my mind.  This CWM can be hard to do since our upbringing has indoctrinated us by TV and Movies to act less than our best.
 
Recently(the past two years), I’ve been trying to not honor power, force, sarcasm, winning and self-righteous behavior. Not that I consciously honored them, that’s my point, but that I have been taught to honor them.  I’ve been trying to pay attention to how I talk, how I sound, what I mean when I say certain things. 
 
I’ve made a list of conflict resolution arguments that I stay away from. Most of this list if from TV, Movies and personal experience. It’s a lengthy list of “don’t do’s” for avoiding arguments and staying on track, getting what you want without resorting to boorish behavior. It’s difficult to do.
 
 
It’s important to not:  use sarcasm
It’s important to not: use knee jerk reactions,  in responses or baiting.
It’s important to not: change the venue, “Another thing you did…”          
It’s important to not: use name calling, “Doodlehead, Crazyman,…”
It’s important to not: use Demonizing or Polarization, “You did..,” Us vs Them
 
It’s important to not: use one-upmanship behaviour, “At least I am…….”
It’s important to not: use a negative tone, another form of sarcasm or disdain
 
It’s important to not: use a cavalier manner or attitude 
It’s important to not: use impunity, “That’s too small to even worry about!!”
It’s important to not: Gesticulate, arm waving, finger-pointing, giving the finger…
 
It’s important to not: use tagging, “Yea, Jim is that way.”  indirect positioning
 
It’s important to not: use inverse tagging, “I’m the good one.”
It’s important to not: use Short Shrifting to undermine others 
It’s important to not: use  Buckshot Charges, “You did A, B, C, D, & E.”
It’s important to not: use Blanket Denial, “It’s ALL WRONG, the WHOLE PACKAGE”
 
It’s important to not: use Stonewalling, (defensiveness) 
It’s important to not: use Stiff-Arming
It’s important to not: use “So What” Answers, People’s feelings, ideas & opinions count
 
It’s important to not: use Brush-Off Answers
It’s important to not: use Plausible Deniability
It’s important to not: use Punt, Fumble, Out oF Bounds Answers
or Arguments
It’s important to not:…………..
 
There are an endless supply of bad arguments and answers.
 
I’ve been trying to shift to good responses, earnest responses, and real answers to real questions.  I found that it wasn’t enough  to just agree with GOOD ANSWERS.  It wasn’t enough to just try to work with people.   I had to HONOR the sensible way out.  I have to lift that good measure up as an ideal and make it and keep it real.  
 
I realized from my list of conflict resolution arguments that it’s real easy to mess up and it’s extremely difficult to stay on track and resolve things honorably. 
 
The things that I HONOR now are civility, kindness, dialogue, others input, truth no matter the source.  It’s important to value the merit of ideas regardless of another’s high or low status.
I’m willing to take the short disappointments because now I’m playing the long game.  Not as a game but as a way to treat others and myself honorably and respectfully. 
 
P.S. This is a work in progress for me.
 
Civility costs nothing, and buys everything.
                                         -Mary Wortley Montagu
 
 
The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be; all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice and experience of them.”
 
        -Socrates
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26 Responses to “When you listen, what do you Honor?”

  1. kristinasa Says:

    Very good entry I think! And so important to realize this.

    • informationforager Says:

      Thank youagain. I realized after the fact that that instead of the word honor I also could have used the wrod sacred(maybe). The point being(that I think you understand) is that instead of merely trading words that during important topics we should treat it with reverance.

      I might take some of your post and find some people to read/translate it for me. I kind of convinced that you have some good things to say. Peace be with you.

  2. kristinasa Says:

    Well, i saw that the link went to my Swedish blog, there I have entries that I don’t have in my English one http://kristinasaid.wordpress.com/
    Do you have Swedish friends? I have a google translation to the right in the side board, it’s just that that the links to different languages has mixed with the calender, strangely enough. I have reported it to WordPress, but I guess they have a lot to do… Anyhow, I still think you can click on “english” and the whole page will be translated. I don’t think the translation always is so good though.

    Yes, about talking to each other with respect, and to have respect towards other beings is important. If we can have a decent and nice language, that I think will also change our thoughts and vice versa. To cultivate our mouth as it also could be said. Yes, our speech should be sacred and only reflect our good and empathic heart and mind. And if we don’t feel that way we should take a step back and stop ourselves from saying nasty things, I think…

    Wish you all the best, looking forward to your next entry about empathy 🙂

  3. informationforager Says:

    I like the phrase, “To cultivate our mouth.”

    That is a very good analogy. I may use that sometime with your permission and a reference to you.

    I think you get it. It’s taken me a long time to get it. My daughter thinks that I am using psychobabble when I talk to her. I still refining it.

    Thanks again. Also I will try your site again and see what happens. Peace be with you.

  4. kristinasa Says:

    Yes, it’s ok for you to use it with a reference to me and Falun Dafa. Here I have an entry as well about communication. It’s in english http://kristinasaid.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/master-the-art-of-communication/
    You can find articles in tags “psychology” in my English blog and tags “relationer” and “psykologi” in my Swedih one. If you want to see more about this I mean 🙂

  5. bridgesburning Says:

    You are going in the right direction. Like me it is a continuous journey. Good for you!
    Chris

  6. informationforager Says:

    Thanks for the words. I quick summation is kind of summed as “the path is becoming a Spiritual Adult.” That’s why I like your site. It’s emminantly sensible based on experience. If things don’t work quite the way we want then we accept it and move on. Peace be with you.

  7. souldipper Says:

    What a worthy and lofty set of standards for yourself, IF. When you see them in others and comment to them when catching them in the act of being virtuous, you watch what happens…you’ll be doing it by default. We assimilate a change so much better when we look for it in others.

    Now I understand your comment on my blog. It makes a whole bunch of sense. You pegged it correctly – this is not a competition. It’s co-creating.

    I hope you are proud of all you are accomplishing, IF!

  8. informationforager Says:

    Thank you for your kind words. I am kind of proud that sometimes I refused to believe things that I knew weren’t true. Still, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life so I am a work in progress. Your prayers and the prayers of others would be greatly appreciated. That is my fee, (Ha, Ha) pray for me to know God, to Love God and my fellow brothers and sisters as myself. Thanks.

  9. Random Ntrygg Says:

    when my spouse and I got together back in 94, we had a conversation about how we were going to have difficult conversations.

    we each explained about how our respective families had fought and overcome fights or not and how we were determined to not fight like out families had

    it was 2 years into the relationship before we had a fight and we’ve had difficult patches every now and then, but we have management to maintain the original agreement:

    1. the need to not talk overrides the need to talk – take a break, calm down and return refreshed

    2 avoid “always” and “never” no one is ever that consistent and instead of listening, the accused person will be thinking of exceptions and be on the defense

    3 no rehashing past arguments, what happened before stays in the past, deal with the here and now in a way that it doesn’t come up in the future.

    4 absolutely, go to bed mad. You don’t do yourself any favours by arguing all hours, tired and overwrought and go to bed in your normal sleeping place – it is often hard to come back after dramatic coun sleeping gestures, or worst, slamming out the door. A good night’s sleep with normalize behavoirs is often the perspective needed to make the arguement less important

    5 winning an arguement is not worth costing you your relationship, if you end that, then you’ve lost everything

  10. informationforager Says:

    Thanks a lot for the comment. I actually really appreciate your extra added insights and experience. Hopefully someone(myself included) can use those to really make their relationships work. You have some good ideas. I particularly like number 5. Not understanding when to draw a line on situations getting out of control is crucial. Thanks again.

  11. happydancecat Says:

    You’re right, communicating with awareness and consideration is one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most important. Definitely a fine art!

  12. informationforager Says:

    Thanks for the input. I appreciate it. It is hard to focus on issues.

  13. Random Ntrygg Says:

    we seem to be connected in the ether – I’ve written a post about communication inside a marriage relationship – but am waiting for my spouse to read and approve it before I post it

    since it’s the communication rules that we created together, so I want her to agree for me to share it

  14. informationforager Says:

    Yes, trying to get others to understand it or input their own ideas is challenging. When I talk to my daughter she asks me why I’m usng Psychobabble(I’m talking in a low slow controlled voice). I keep tellling her that I trying to make sure of my words and communicate from one mind to another. I may be overdoing it which is why I have stressed that we need to change our emphesis from HONORING power, force, sarcasism, and rudenes. We need to HONOR civility and politeness and deliberation. I may not have it right but I’m trying.

  15. Random Ntrygg Says:

    sometimes my spouse gets annoyed at me for “managing” her with the active listen and careful speaking and re-stating what she has said – it is to ensure understanding

    so it helps to have the conversation about how to have the conversation sometimes

  16. informationforager Says:

    Thanks for your input. I had forgotten to mention “re-stating their words” approuch.” That is validation also. Again to I really don’t like to learn skills for something that should be so obvious but since we have grown up in a TV world we have to unlearn all those bad habits that create drama. Thank you very much.

  17. John Says:

    I really like reading your stuff. It is nice to see that empathy, sympathy and civility are still being practiced. I would like to add a link on my Weblog to this post if it is alright with you.
    Thanks.
    Sincerely, john

    • informationforager Says:

      Yes, thank you for the kind comments. Yes you can link. I like sharing this stuff and learning more stuff. The people that leave comments here, I try to hear their message. They can sometimes say it better than me or have their own experience with something that just brings the whole message home. Thanks again.

  18. tcjennings Says:

    What wonderful thoughts!

    • informationforager Says:

      Thank you. I must confess that not all my thought are like that. If you don’t believe me just ask my wife, she’ll tell you(Ha, Ha). Seriously, I find each day brings a new challange but hopefully my personal ideals can become habit forming. Thanks. Peace be with you.

  19. judithatwood Says:

    A well-thought-out post, and such an important goal, for all of us. Nothing makes me crazier in the public world than politicians who have forgotten how to be civil with each other, to debate, to meet and talk. Instead, they hide behind their party lines and call each other names like a bunch of preschoolers. I’ve printed your list and put it on my board, next to the desk. I think all of your “not to’s” will help me to become a more thoughtful, more respectful person. Thanks so much!

    • informationforager Says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I must be honest and say that since I’ve written that post I have struggled with my own words. While my intentions are good, I sometimes encounter others that have egos, an agenda, manipulating tactics, or something else that I hadn’t thought about. I HAVE failed my own ideals but feel that I can see a better way then I did before. Nonetheless, I will press on and tweak, modify, and amend myself to different situations as they arise. Giving up is not an option. Thanks you again and peace be with you.

  20. iamforchange Says:

    Love the post!

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