Friday, October 2, 2009

Striking A Happy Medium.

Some of us are not adroit listeners; we dismiss points of view different from our own, and ride over protests or comments like a personnel carrier moving toward a previously set objective.

Some aren't at all skilled at "social signals" - those little nonverbal communications demonstrating that our listeners are becoming irritated, impatient, bored or restless.

Conversely, some of us examine people's faces as though we were intelligence service operatives, always checking and rechecking, to see if we can distinguish from facial twitches and eye movements, how they are feeling towards us. My ex once said with great feeling, "Stop gawking at me!" (I was thoroughly offended at the time, but now that makes me laugh; I did gawk at him. He wouldn't tell me how he felt, so I was always trying to discern it. I'd find it very disconcerting to be watched all the time, the way I used to watch him.)

Before Al-Anon, I was not a person who was capable of finding a happy medium. I was an unhappy person who operated at one extreme or the other. I didn't know how to compromise.

In Al-Anon, I have learned that others deserve my respect simply because they are here on this earth. I can demonstrate my respect by allowing them equal time to be heard, and truly listening. I don't have to agree, but I do need to listen. I can be aware of my innate desire to lecture and manage, and work to behave differently. And it is work, hard work, sometimes. I'm going against years of behaving a certain way; until my new behavior becomes second nature, I need to pay attention to what I am saying and doing.

If I wait until other people start acting the way I want them to, before I am willing to make any changes in myself, I may still be waiting, on the day I leave this earth.

Let it begin with me.

1 comment:

  1. Balance in all things is best for me. It's not always easy to achieve, but it is worth any effort I put into it.

    Thanks for this post.