From assuming to understanding

People have often asked me why I tend to frequently defer to questions rather than statements. “Just say what you think!!” There are reasons for this… and I see them coming out more frequently as I dive deeper into my relationships.

My natural tendency when I am critiqued, criticized, or judged is to respond in one or both of the following ways. I will either try to defend myself and reason with the person as to why I am not to blame or why I am right and they are not… or I will turn the focus to the other so that we can begin to question them rather than me. This could all be resolved if there were a mutual desire to understand rather than assume.

See, it comes down to statements versus questions. Statements are often made quickly and very frequently reek of assumptions and judgments. Too often, the person making quick retort statements has no clue what he or she is talking about and it often ends up with the other feeling hurt or misunderstood. Questions slow things down. Questions allow the other to speak for herself… to explain what the current perception is. And for the one asking the question… well, there is no threat or personal attachment to a well-asked question.

I don’t feel as though I am hurt too often any more by people’s statements that come from their lack of understanding or non-desire to understand… but I am saddened. I am frustrated. And it is often all too difficult to keep my mouth shut when I feel the need to lash back or put the other person in their place. To do this is to take an even lower blow than I received.

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