All of a sudden he says, “Damn it, Kevin!”
He has said that phrase once in a while, but this comment caught me off guard some. What had I said that was so upsetting to him?
Another friend in another conversation went off on something that was said and began a sort of blistering commentary ending with their questions.
Words have meanings
My friend’s “Damn it” needed to be addressed. So I asked.
“So, did I purposefully say something that upset you? Is what I said coming from a position of wanting to hurt or harm you in any way?”
The theme of my questions (was my purpose to harm him) caught him off guard, and he said, “NO, NO, NO!! It’s just your comments were truthful and sometimes the truth hurts. But you were NOT purposefully trying to get at me. I have never felt that from you at all.”
Whew! That’s good, because my attitude has never been to, on purpose, to harm others and to make their life worse. My attitude IS, however, about getting people to see things that they are believing or doing that is harmful to themselves and others.
My wife has said it, too, that most of my comments are truthful and factual, and sometimes not fun to hear at all.
But my main concern is when people, as the main graphic above shows, misinterpret what I’m trying to say.
It starts with our perception.
Perceptions skew our words, both listening and speaking
What does the Bible say about this subject?
1 Cor 12:17-20 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.
While we each have a different personalities and talents, each of us can misinterpret what we see and hear and think when it comes from others.
It is when what WE think, assume, and interpret things as the ONLY way of seeing things is when we get into trouble.
This really comes into play when people use the words, “I’m offended by…” something that is said. People who are easily offended have an expectation that you to cater to their views, or, they want to offend or belittle you.
Seek first to understand, then be understood
Steven Covey used the phrase, “seek first to understand, then to be understood” as a way of ensuring you actually listen and hear what is being said so that you can accurately converse about what is being talked about.
Missing the part about understanding creates misinterpretations, some humorous, some hurtful.
My wife and I use our “misunderstandings” to create laughter at each others words. We repeat back what we think we hear, usually like the YouTube video Bad Lip Readings. It both gives us loads of laughs.
So next time someone talks to you, make sure you don’t do bad ear flapping and seek first to understand what they are saying before you commence becoming offended or upset.
You life will be so much less stressful.