Yes it is true. Engaging in Healing Conversations when we’re at odds with the person or think they are wrong requires a lot from us. We must let go of judgments and acknowledge that the other’s perspective has value. We need to commit to understanding them. We have to listen with compassion, which means being curious enough about their perceptions, situations and beliefs that we suspend judgment.
Not easy to do! Yet if we have any hope of understanding, connecting at a meaningful level, healing that deep sense of separation and isolation, we must let go of the “correctness” of our version, values, beliefs, etc. We have to give up being “right.” People see their own versions of what is happening in their lives. Each has some measure of truth – at least for that person. Partial truth is not the whole truth.
Jerry is a public school educator who is known for creating healing and change with families in very difficult situations. Others would see the situations as hopeless and give up; he finds ways to make life better for many. He inspires hope. People take small action steps because he sees, hears, and respects them and they know it.
What struck me was Jerry’s inner turmoil. He said, “If you heard what I think when I first see what’s going on you’d know the depth of my judgments. I think terrible things. People think I’m so caring and effective, but if they only knew what goes on in my head, they wouldn’t think I was so great.”
With questioning, Jerry acknowledged that no matter his initial judgments, he stops and chooses the healing approach before speaking. He puts aside his initial judgment. What more can we ask of Jerry or ourselves? Of course, human emotions leap to the forefront when we’re confronted with something that doesn’t fit our model of how the world should be. The best we can do is what he did. Stop and make a decision to put aside our judgments and seek the best in those people.