I’ll cut right to the chase with this. You are killing off everyone you love and you don’t even know it. And the worst part is–you don’t think you are doing anything like that. You think you are being “nice” and trying not to say anything that will offend people. You think you have nothing to apologize for or clean up with another person. Yet, the people who love you are dying off because of who you are being.
If this makes no sense to you, let me clarify. We all want to be heard, validated, and encouraged by those who matter to us. We want to know that our opinions matter to those around us, and when we are told we are wrong, or are made to feel we are wrong, we get discouraged. We don’t want to interact with those who make us wrong anymore, because we all want agreement to feel validated. This is human nature, and it is what drives all of us to form groups of agreement. This is what creates division in religions, politics, and even nutritional groups. As human beings, we all have a need to be right. (For a more in depth discussion on this topic, see the book 7 Steps to Living a Life You Love.)
How do we kill others?
Even though we don’t like it when people make us wrong or don’t listen to what we have to say, we do that very same thing to others. We invalidate others by the little things we say or do. We say things like, “Well, I just don’t want to hear it right now”, or “You have no idea what you’re talking about”, or even “That’s not how it is”. Saying these things to those who love us kills them off, making them not want to talk or be with us in the long term. It says to them, “I am far superior to you and I know what the world is like. You don’t, and you have no idea what life is like. You are stupid. Why would I want to hang out with you when you spew stupid things like that?” Now, you most likely wouldn’t say that directly, but it is the message you give when you blow off what others say to you.
How are relationships killing you?
We are a mirror to how others treat us. If we are treated badly by someone, we end up doing the same to them. If people treat us nice, then we are nice to them. So it stands to reason that if we are killing others off by our attitudes and actions, then they are doing the same to us. The other part is that by not allowing others to be fully expressed, they do not allow us to be fully expressed. Our spirit is then killed off and we become dead inside. And once we are dead inside, anyone who shows they are alive inside is an insult to our “dead-ness”, and we try all we can to kill them off so we can feel better about ourselves.
How do we bring the dead to life?
When you think you are being “polite” or “nice”, what you are really doing is shutting people down. And that is not how to bring the spirit of anyone back to life. Instead, you need to encourage expression from others without judging them or shutting them down. Here is how that would look: Say that someone told you that they think Trump is the right candidate for the presidency. But you absolutely think that is absurd and you want to jump on that statement right away. Instead, with a poker face, you say, “Why do you think that?” Asking the person why they made their statement is a way to encourage expression, and an open and honest dialogue. This does not mean you have to agree with them. You just have to appreciate that they may have a different opinion than you and that is okay.
Let’s see how the rest of that conversation would go. Suppose the other person then goes on to say, “Well, he is for keeping immigrants out of the country, because they steal American jobs.” Of course, you know that this statement is false, and you REALLY want to educate this person about this. But, to encourage full expression, and to keep an open dialogue going, you ask, “So what is Trump’s plan to bring back jobs to the US?” And on and on you go, keeping an open mind to hearing what the other person has to say. Because you have listened fully, without judging, to the other person and you have let that person be expressed, wouldn’t it stand to reason that they would now want to listen to your opinion more readily?
How that plays out might look like this: “I can see your points. And I agree we need to get jobs back, so our country can start recovering…” From there, you would state how you see things and the alternatives that exist within the candidates’ platforms. As you go through the conversation, and the other person wants to interrupt you to point out how wrong you are, simply say, “Wait a minute now. I listened to you and let you make your points. I think it is only fair that I get the same consideration.” This sets up ground rules for both of you, and you both get expressed.
Where to go for more
Being expressed and letting others be expressed without being made wrong for it is only the first step in reviving dead relationships. For more on how to communicate effectively and love the life you live, check out my book on Amazon, 7 Steps to Living a Life You Love.