I recently had the opportunity to sit in a group and work through some unresolved tension between some of the group members. The method used for relieving the tension was so simple – good communication.
Everyone spoke in turn, without interruption. People took their time, there was no rush, there was time to think about what you were saying. We all spoke about how we were affected by the situation thus avoiding the “you said” and “you did” elements which can be so unhelpful.
We realised how what we say and the tone used can be so easily misinterpreted. This can cause hurt, which if not aired can fester and lead to resentment.
It is not as simple as it sounds to sit and listen to each other without interruption and without the chance of an immediate come-back – which often just escalates a situation into an argument. The value of speaking in turn is that by the time it is your turn to speak you may no longer wish to say what you were expecting to say, you will have had to time to listen to others speak and this may well have changed how you see things and given you the opportunity to identify what you are really feeling.
There may be many rounds necessary to resolve a situation, you sit with it until it is finished. People sometimes ask – how long will this take? It takes as long as it takes!
It is also not often that people are courageous enough to really speak from the heart, to say how hurt they are feeling or vulnerable or frightened or angry. We are so often afraid to let others see how we really feel, we wear masks to protect ourselves, to hide behind. There are many reasons that we do this, it is a learnt behaviour. Perhaps in the past someone used our vulnerability against us or took advantage of our fear to frighten us further, whatever the reason we can unlearn this behaviour and learn a new way to be. Learning any new skill takes practise and to do this it helps to have people around us that we trust and feel safe with.
I would love for everyone have the opportunity to experience this sort of communication, to experience what it is like to sit through a situation which could very easily lead to confrontation but doesn’t, which allows everyone to speak their truth and to really hear each other.
Simple things can be really difficult – but it is worth it!