Are You A Safe Space For Communication?
Some people would never share the things that are important to them because they already feel as though they would be judged.
Who are you when it comes to being a safe space for others to really share what is on their minds?
Sometimes people will not share what is important to them because they have already been told they are this or they are that, which does everything but encourage an environment of openness and authentic communication.
I feel what is lacking in most relationships is this honesty. The kind of honesty I am talking about is about trusting that what you say is safe with the person you are communicating to.
For many of us, this is simply not the case. Things we might have said on a bad day get anchored like steel into the ocean, leaving us stuck trying to uproot it, and it is always at risk of being the cause of severed relationships. Perhaps writing is the same.
If you cannot be honest with your co-workers, your life partner, your family, your boss, or your children, then what pretense or stuffy environment are you required to live in? This pretense is exhausting and breaks down trust and understanding among people. This is the pretense that severs relationships, gives life to biased opinions, and annihilates and breaks down the walls of communication and understanding between people.
In so many cases, true communication is penalized.
We are asked not to state our opinions. We are told not to be open. We are penalized for being ourselves and asked not to be who we are.
In a world that asks us to break up who we are, be innovative, have a beginner’s mind, learn from your mistakes, the hypocrisy is that none of this is actually happening.
If we speak too much, we are told this is not good. If we state our opinion, we are asked to say less. If we take a bold stand for what is important to us, the world sometimes slaps us back down and puts us back in our place.
Maybe we have learned over time that others just cannot handle what we have to say and they have said things to us like: “You talk too much. You don’t fit in with the group. You are too this or not enough that.” Or maybe you got emotional over something you are dealing with in your life, and the person listening could not handle your tears.
What did you learn?
That it is not okay to be you.
You must try to be someone else, or try to fit into a mold of who you are wanted to be. You will die trying and this is the last thing you should do.
Where does innovation get to live in this environment?
Where does possibility show up when everyone wants to put their own filters on everyone else’s communication.
If it were truly a safe space and we could be who we authentically are, then we would be able to say what we feel, allow others to do the same, and have no problems with it because we are walking our own talk.
If you are a safe place for others to communicate, then people would naturally gravitate toward you, and be open about their own lives, with nothing hidden, and you would not penalize them for doing so.
I don’t think the world has reached this point yet, as many people who say they are enlightened, feel they are already there.
It’s like knowledge, the minute you think you know something, you really don’t know it.
That is the beauty of knowledge.
With understanding another human being, it is very much the same.
The minute you think you know them, you’ve lost the plot and the person.
You’ve reached a place of judgment and you’ve stopped listening.
Relationships die at judgment and they are reborn when the listener says to the speaker, “I do not know who you are.” You become interested in them, and let them know: “I do not know you. Teach me about who you are.” This listening should never be “finished,” like a checked box. It is ongoing.
Even if they have known each other for years, if the person who cares enough to repair a broken bond says a simple phrase to themselves such as, “I do not know you,” this leaves room for possibility to show up in the relationship.
Without this humility, there is only judgment and opinion.
Once we know all about who the other person is, that relationship is dead.
The trick is, we must never say, “Yes, I know this person.” How can anyone ever know anyone completely?
That just means we weren’t really listening, to begin with.
The greatest leaders in the world were loved because they came from love and from a space of, “What is it that I do not know?”
There was love for people. Possibility was present. People were humble and not acting as though they already had everything and everyone figured out.
People like Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Swami Vivekananda, Mother Theresa, Amma, all had qualities which spoke of the following:
There is nothing wrong with you and you are okay as you are and as you are not. There is no judgment here.
They were known for their unconditional love, for standing up for all human beings, for being committed to the possibility of love for all. This is why when these exceptional leaders passed, they continue to be mourned years after their deaths.
I invite you to take on in your relationships: “Who I am is the space of communication, where nothing and no person is wrong.”
When we are left that there is something wrong with us, that’s when we stop communicating with the people who made us feel that way.