One of the most difficult tasks in life is to really listen to another person. Our brains, in many ways, are wired against it. When we truly listen to and consider another person’s point of view, we run the risk of being forced to change how we see the world and adjust to this new knowledge. Although the new knowledge and necessary adjustment may not actually be dangerous, the brain often interprets it as such. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is understandable, and in some cases, beneficial. After all, what could be more dangerous than the unknown? The dangers of that which is not known or understood cannot be prepared for. Our brains developed this way in order to survive.
However, this mechanism often does not serve us when trying to communicate effectively with others. We enter into debates as battles, with our shields up and swords out, ready to defend the structure that makes us feel safe. This can happen without us even realizing it; I personally can reflect on countless times in which I have only noticed the baggage I brought into a discussion in retrospect. In fact, because these things are so deeply engrained in us, it is more likely that they will be hidden rather than overt. Ideally, a debate should be an exchange of ideas, a place where both parties leave having learned something from one another. This kind of discourse is what betters individual lives and moves society forward. So, whenever we enter into any kind of discussion, I feel we should challenge ourselves to examine our barriers. What are we afraid of? Are we projecting any past situations or relationships onto the present one? Are we afraid of potential damage to our self-image by being proven wrong? These are questions we must answer in order to be good communicators.
I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my words. It is truly my privilege to be a part of this community and address you all in this way.
May the Force be with you, always.
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- Written by Lightscribe
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