I wonder about this…when you engage in a conversation, do you look for ways to confirm what you already believe to be true or are you truly open to learning something different? Even while listening to a lecture, I sometimes find within myself a resistance to new information. Oh no, I might have to shift my hard won beliefs!
Seeking confirmation for what I already consider to be the truth, closes the door to discovering something else. And if I am confirmed in what I already believe, is there sometimes an air of “evangelism” about me–if I believe that I know the truth, then do I think I have the right or responsibility to force my dogma on someone else?
When I’m in conversation with someone, am I really listening? Or am I already planning what I’m going to say in response? Often, our patterns of listening and conversing are so programmed that it’s hard to step out of the box of our behaviors to allow something or someone else in.
Or, have you noticed that sometimes, a conversation is more of a monologue than a dialogue? I look into my own patterns and see if I’m guilty of stealing the stage and not allowing the other person to get in a word. Or when a certain friend gives a soliloquy while we’re taking a walk in nature, I sometimes strategically interrupt and request “quiet time.” This can help to bring awareness to the lopsided nature of the conversation. And, it allows us to appreciate the beautiful surroundings.
In observing conversational patterns between men and women, I’ve noticed that some men take the role of “I’m the teacher,” while a woman may allow and even encourage that role. Other times, she tries to contribute her own different but real wisdom, only to find herself disproved by the “dominant male’s absolute surety” about whatever it is they are discussing. He might raise his voice or show some sign of physical prowess (body language) to emphasize his correctness. It takes an aware male to help to create a safe atmosphere where true sharing can occur. Is he able to inquire into her thoughts and ways of being and seeing without overpowering her? It takes a super conscious male to understand that he may actually learn something from her!