Recently my 18-year old step-daughter shared a compelling piece of wisdom with me that I want to pass on to you!
You know those situations where someone does something unexpected or surprising and you really don’t like it?
Perhaps your feelings get hurt, or you think they misunderstood you, or you don’t trust where they are coming from?
When you feel vulnerable and then go into your mind and analyze what is wrong with other people?
Well, when I am afraid or hurt, I sometimes get more rigid. (I’m sure none of you can relate to that …)
I want to hunker down and cling to my fear-based version of reality because I believe it will protect me from further harm. Instead of protecting me however, this critical focus on everything that is wrong in others closes me down and keeps me from relating and engaging.
So, my step-daughter was sharing some challenges she was facing in a significant relationship in her life, when she shared this:
“Whenever I start thinking that way [about what is wrong with this person], I tell myself: I really hope that I am wrong. Because if I am wrong, then there will be hope. So, I go back to this person hoping that they will show me that my fears and interpretations aren’t true, and often it works out really well.”
Imagine. Hoping I am wrong.
How many times do you say that to yourself?
I hardly ever do. In fact, I actively strive to make myself right.
Blown. (Like this)
I began to think about how I would show up differently in relationships if, instead of seeking evidence for my negative interpretations, I hoped that I was wrong and that I was missing something.
I would approach the situation with more gentleness and softness.
I would be more willing to hear new information.
I would be more able and willing to shift my own position.
I would listen to the other person differently.
I would be more available for dialogue and conversation.
I would be more available for re-connection.
Like my step-daughter pointed out, there would be more hope. Showing up that way would make it far more likely that we could move forward in a way that is more likely to meet both of our needs.
(If you don’t recognize that reference, watch this. Yes, if you are watching a meerkat in a jacuzzi you are in the right place. Watch the end.)
This week, notice any critical, negative and fear-based interpretations and practice hoping that you are wrong! I’d love to hear stories about how this works for you – share below!
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I love this concept because of the hope factor. And what if you were right but going in with a softness and open heart maybe the thing this other person needs right now. Everyone is facing a challenge of some sort.