Years ago, as I was working to rebuild the psychological structures that were damaged by my traumatic childhood, I had to face an uncomfortable fact:
My self esteem was so low I was incapable of truly listening to another human being.
I didn't have the emotional maturity to allow someone to speak their truth.
I was too fragile to hear any sort of painful feedback.
I was too afraid to hear criticism so I attacked instead of listening
I had no capacity for discomfort so I created a wall of words around myself.
And everything in my life suffered as a result.
My defensiveness was really a misguided attempt to hang on to the last shred of worth I felt I had left.
I refused to let others speak because I couldn't bear to hear anything that might make me feel small or add to my shame.
Today, as I look around at the current landscape, I see this condition everywhere.
And it breaks my heart.
If we can't receive feedback or hear how our behaviour affects those around us, we can't possibly grow.
Defensiveness keeps us STUCK. And it costs us all the things we say we truly want.
This isn't okay.
If we want to end the deep rooted conflict within our families, communities, companies, and nations, we're going to need to find a willingness to LISTEN TO LEARN.
This one skill has the power to heal deep wounds and change the world.
But don't think for a moment that it's easy.
Like any skill, listening to LEARN takes time and practice and a lot of tongue biting and deep breathing.
You'll have to create a space inside yourself so you can hold the uncomfortable feelings that come up as you allow room for views, opinions and preferences other than your own.
To listen uncritically requires knowing that no matter what is said, you can keep yourself safe.
Once you've listened to the other party, you can then examine all the data under the light of critical thought.
what parts are true?
what parts are helpful?
what parts are useful?
what parts need further clarification?
what parts need to be addressed?
what needs to change?