Heard and Understood

The fear of death is basically fear of life, because only life can die. If you are afraid of death, you will be afraid of life. If you are afraid of falling down, you will be afraid of rising up, because only a wave that rises falls back. If you are afraid of being rejected you will become afraid, afraid to approach any body. If you are afraid of being rejected, you will become incapable of love. Afraid of death, you become incapable of life. Then you live just for the name’s sake, and only miseries, darkness, and night surround you.”

– Osho

We’ve all had disagreements. We’ve all had times where we’ve just needed to talk and for someone to just listen. We’ve all had times where we’ve let the conversation be about us instead of the problem. Sometimes people just become so frustrated and discussion becomes highly unproductive. In fact, in many relationships arguing and impasses appear to be a normal occurrence. Many help articles and advice operate by talking about “when this happens” instead of if. It may surprise you then, that my partner and I have rarely ever fought.

There was only one time where I raised my voice to my partner. There was only one time where I felt moved to the point of violence. However, the rest of the time we simply manage to talk everything through in even tones. Perhaps this is because we are both naturally quiet folk. Maybe it’s because we’ve been sure to carve out our own well-defined corners. A lot of it is because a few weeks into our relationship we both decided that all communication would resolve around two things: being heard and understood.

Heard and understood is just what it sounds like yet it results in such wonderful outcomes. Focusing on hearing and understanding lets the focus center on the problem, issue, or topic without having conversation devolve into bickering and personal attacks. The fear of speaking up melts away because you are engaging and living instead of hiding and worrying. Communication becomes the process that it is instead of a battle to send out as many words as possible.

It is all about the give and take. Heard and understood is an active process. It requires you to be aware, to be open, and to be realistic. Often, being self-conscious means that seek to spare ourselves or others. We end up making judgments that aren’t accurate. But really, you learn just how resilient you can be. The world doesn’t end, there isn’t a grand tragedy if you disagree, and actual understanding takes place.

Do you have your own form of heard and understood? What fears creep into your conversations with others? What ideas about sex and gender play into the way you communicate with men, women, and the rest of us? Who do you know that communicates clearly and listens well? What do they do to make the process smooth? Who do you know who argues all of the tinge and rarely gets anything done? In what ways can you exemplify a kinder way to communicate?

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