I have been in many discussions, conversations, and dialogues with individuals. Whether these actions took place face to face, by telephone, or through social media, there have been times when individuals have not stayed on topic. We could be having a discussion, conversation, or dialogue and I can discern if the person wants to “win” the discussion, conversation, or dialogue, so they would change the narrative or purposely did not address the topic being discussed. Can we learn and evolve with one another instead of seeking to “win” a discussion?
Recently, I have seen on social media many times where individuals have not taken the time to understand what the other individuals may be saying. They took a word or phrase out of context and held the individual to their limited interpretation of the comment or perspective without clarification or further discussion. The individual read the post to respond instead of processing the reply of the author to the initial post. The initial post dealt with adults judging young adults who were not being responsible and practicing kindness to one another.
Another individual commented that the respondent could not believe there are multiple truths to why young adults were being unkind to one another. First, there is no one truth, there are variations to our truth depending on the perspective or perspectives used to examine the circumstances. Second, it is all about perspective thinking. In the social media post with young adults the individual simply did not read the post and replies to truly understand.
Another thing I am noticing is when individuals are discussing something if they have nothing else to add, they resort to personal insults or attacks instead of additional research or knowledge. Individuals are calling individuals names, questioning levels of intelligence, making comments about their family members, threatening to harm them, and attempting to destroy their character. However, these same individuals say they want a more “united” America. Do these individuals want a more “united” America? A more “united” America cannot be on a one-dimensional perspective. A more “united” America would listen to understand.
Stephen Covey informed us that “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” We have to improve as a society if we want to reach our full potential. We have to listen and then increase our understanding. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:7, “with all thy getting get understanding.” Understanding is necessary as we all work on being the best version of ourselves. When you are in discussions, conversations, and dialogues do you reflect on other perspectives, possibilities, solutions, or experiences?
Some individuals have not experienced certain situations, so they may not realize certain bias, barriers, obstacles, preferences, opportunities, and assumptions exist. Are we mature enough to participate in social discourse to solve community challenges? We do not need to go through the motions, we need to evolve and learn. We have to be aware of current progress actions, set intentions, and see the possibilities in the face of obstacles and barriers. Knowing there is beauty in any experience despite the adversity or discomfort. There is an “and/both” mentality we must develop. As individuals, we must recognize some things will be hard; however, we can overcome using our values and taking opportunities to learn and evolve within ourselves and communities.
I am not ignorant of the fact that some individuals feel we do not need to advocate for equity, inclusion, and belonging in our various systems and institutions; however, if we have individuals verbalizing this perspective alone without considering other perspectives, this is the issue. With this issue it is evident we need more belonging, equity, and inclusion. If one individual feels there is a concern or perspective, they should be able to share it. It should be acknowledged within the system or community.
Then the process is to now listen, clarify, and understand how this perspective affects the system or community. Then we put in the work to make adjustments. Systems and communities are not meant to stay the same. We have to put in the work to evolve and learn. Trust the process and constantly reflect on what is necessary for growth and improvement. This does not mean we will always “get it right;” however, do individuals feel the atmosphere of care and love? Can we recognize and actively dismantle the lack of understanding and not listening to self and others, and work towards maturity?
What are our motives when we engage in discussions, conversations, or dialogues? Are we seeking to evolve and learn, or are we seeking to hold on to our one dimensional perspective without any revisions? My hope is that we evolve and learn. I want to be a better version of myself today and tomorrow. This will require constant individual as well as collective reflection, human connection, and daily consistency to be more mature.
Call to Action
Please take the time to reflect on your personal values. What are 10 values that demonstrate how you want to show up in your various environments? Next, narrow the 10 values to 5 values. Then reflect on your personal behaviors to demonstrate those values. For example, one of my personal values is accountability. This is demonstrated in my personal behaviors through planning, checklist, reflecting on voices, individuals, and results. Sometimes, I ask myself questions or I ask other questions to measure accountability for me or the team.
Additionally, take the time to truly listen to understand in your discussions, conversations, or dialogues. Did you really listen to understand or listen to respond or try to win the argument? Please share in the comment feature your thoughts and/or experiences.