“Yes, even the ‘F’ word…”

I’m reminded of a story about a child who attended counseling. The counselor explained to him that counseling was a safe place and he could say whatever he wanted without fear of repercussions.

He responded, “Even the ‘F’ word?”

The counselor thought she may have a problem on her hands, but she stuck with her promise and said, “Yes, even the ‘F’ word.”

Then the child giggled and said, “Fart.”

Every day I’m reminded that people think differently than I do. It takes a considerable amount of effort and intentionality to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. But successful communication DEMANDS it. It REQUIRES that we value LISTENING over SPEAKING. And listening isn’t just hearing words. It is hearing what ISN’T said. Hearing what is felt and experienced. It is discovering the background, beliefs, influences, and interests of others. THIS is the lifeblood of successful parents, educators, and CEOs.

So, let’s move beyond the idea of being right or pushing an agenda and strive to meet others where they are FOR THE SIMPLE FACT that their thoughts and feelings are JUST AS IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE as our own.

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