The Encounter Workshop, Formation Through Relationships was very important to me. I came to appreciate the difference between two words I use (and live by) constantly:
I am good at thinking... defining terms, putting together a logical piece of writing. And I did not realize that, for years, I believed that if I presented my concerns logically, many people would find my work persuasive. Their understanding would grow; and they would choose to act in ways that I would find supportive and helpful. If people understood my concerns, they would help me to address those concerns.
Most of the time I thought that people understood what I was saying. Rarely did people address my concerns. I became frustrated, angry, depressed, and ended up walking away from them.
I think, now, that if I had approached my concerns in a far different way, namely invited people to come and share some of my experiences, we would have been able to work together on concerns that were no longer mine, but our concerns, and I would have been a happier and healthier human being.
At the workshop, a couple at my table had a chance to demonstrate how words move us very little. Mrs who participated in the exercise is standing; Mr. is sitting (he is the first person in the picture from the left)
Their task-- to sit back to back, and put together a paper puzzle. Mrs. got a page with the puzzle completed and the puzzle pieces highlighted in such a way that she could see their shape and where they had to be placed. Mr. had the pieces.
The rest of us had to watch and keep our lips sealed.
They worked really hard but they were no way near completing the puzzle when time ran out.My point... without eye contact so that one could see the other's body language, one's chance of accurately experiencing what the other person was experiencing and accurately gauging what they were saying was very, very poor.
Words are powerful...but vocal tone and body language are key to appreciating the person's speaking concerns.
Understanding without experience does not help people to tune into each other. I am so glad that I am coming to terms with that...
Communicating takes a lot of loving and a lot of work doesn't it