Words hold a lot of power, we think if we get the last word in we are left with dignity, power and are viewed as wise. The incredible power of words is not just in their meaning or the intention behind the words. Context aside, how we have conversations the tone, timing and body langue used can ease or strain relationships. If we jump the the gun, assuming we know what another person will say, well…we all know the saying about assuming. Putting words in other peoples mouths, puts a foot in ours. it can damage the relationships we have.
There is a respect in allowing others to speak without interruption. It grants them the ability to fully elaborate and process what they are saying. It also gives you the chance to hear more in depth detail to help better grasp the concepts or ideas being discussed. Sometimes we get into arguments that could have been easily avoided, had we just patiently listened until whomever we were conversing with was finished speaking. Respecting another persons time to speak requires a lot of patients and it is a skill that takes time to learn. Especially if we are used to cutting people off mid sentence because we think we know where the conversation is going. It is very rude and disrespectful in the eyes of the speaker and this disrespect does not usually go unnoticed. It can cause in others a discomfort to the point they no longer wish to interact with us. They deserve the chance to complete their thoughts just as we wish to complete ours.
Another possible reason we feel the need to stop people in their conversational tracks stems from judgment. These little thoughts may have popped in your head from time to time, “they are wrong, wrong, wrong!” “Someone needs to set them back on the right track.” “If no one stops them to correct course they are headed straight for failure!” They very well could be wrong, they very well could fail. Our intent may come from a caring place. No one wants to see someone they care about fail. But that is all apart of respecting their words and their time to speak. They are opening up to you, the last thing they are hoping for is to be disrespected by being cut off. If we don’t understand their logic butting in with our helpful advice will only fall on hardened ears. No one wants to listen to someone who doesn’t give them the chance to speak up. This only caters a greater annoyance. Being okay with “agreeing to disagree” will give a greater peace than trying to shut others up so we can have the final say.
We all have the freedom, even if we are oppressed, to think the way we think and feel the way we feel. No one can change those things in us and as we interact with our words it is helpful to remember to give the grace and respect to others that we ourselves wish to receive. If you have trouble jumping ahead of someone in conversations try this exercise. Sit with someone you find you cut off fairly regularly and for 20 minutes say nothing. Allow them to speak all they please, but say nothing until the 20 minutes runs down. When you listen allow yourself to feel. As the conversation goes on, process these feelings. If there are unpleasant feelings try letting go the words that brought discomfort. If you are still uncomfortable about the conversation then the things that caused the discomfort may need talked about with that person. Understanding we are responsible for our own words and they are responsible for theirs, helps to relax our minds so we can listen.
Wishing you peaceful listening today