Monday, March 19, 2012

Acceptance and Difficult Others

   How are you?
I'm bumping this up. This was originally written in this inn last year, 4/17/11.
Keep in mind I've moved to: The Attitude of Gratitude Inn.  Please click here to head over to our new place. Over 310 posts. I'm sure you'll enjoy the place. I hope to see you there.
May you have a great and grateful day.

    The Innkeeper.

In my previous post about acceptance, Thag said:
"Try doing this [having acceptance] when your almost 8-year-old makes weekly mass an exercise in humiliation!"
   Dear Thag,
I imagine it must, at times, be frustrating, raising two young daughters, especially if one is strong-willed. I'm not sure your oldest is, but she might be. Fortunately, none of mine were. I lucked out. There was a time, recently, when I was father to three teenage sons. That season of my life required a degree of grace and wisdom that I often lacked.

     Fortunately, they've turned out to be three magnificent sons. I'm thankful for God's mercy.  I did my best as a parent and turned the results over to Him. I find the following lengthy quote from Dr. Marshall Rosenberg helpful:
'Everything is in a constant process of discovery and creating. Life is intent on finding what works, not what's right'       Margaret Wheatley
It may be best to not look for the "bad," "wrong," or devious motivation for our children's [might I add, anyone's, Ed.] behaviors.Our children are only and always trying to meet their human needs. I try to train myself to look beneath their behavior for the need they are trying to meet, an address that. In this way I will get to the good reason they are doing what they're doing, and I'll also be able to help them choose actions that better serve their needs.
'Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible.'  
                Virginia Satir
Parents [ and people in general] are sometimes afraid to empathize with their children out of fear that they will then have to "give in" and give their child what they ask for. However, empathy doesn't mean you agree to do anything your child asks. It simply means 'I care about what's going on with you.'

      Dr. Rosenberg also says,
'As we know, the message we send is not always the message that's received'
Sometimes when we make a request, we can pick up on verbal cues or body  language to determine that the message we sent was received the way we intended. But other times you can tell that whatever you said was "Greek" to the listener. 
To ensure a smooth exchange of information, try getting into the habit of asking the listener to reflect back what they heard you say. They don't have to give a word-for-word recitation, but simply state in their own words what they think you said. By incorporating this  into your conversations, many upsets and misunderstandings can be avoided.
It's also important to express appreciation when your listener tries to meet your request for a reflection. Answering with "That's not what I said" or  "You weren't listening to me" will have the opposite effect. A simple, "I'm grateful to you for telling me what you heard, I can see I didn't make myself as clear as I'd like, so let me try again." No Greek there!
A Helpful Practice
       I try practicing making a request for others tell me what they've heard me say. It's a habit I'm still working on. I also try reflecting back what I hear. Clarifying helps remove confusion.

       How many of my readers would like to join me, in doing so, for this week? If you take up this mini challenge from the innkeeper, please let me know by posting your interest. Thanks!

             Enjoy your week. May it be a great and grateful one!
Related Post:
Responding, Not Reactiing click here.

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