It is often striking to me how powerful it can be to pay attention to someone. How much attention looks like love, you could say. People that experience receiving attention feel not only heard and seen, but also understood and acknowledged. If someone gives you attention that means that you and what you share is legitimate, really exist.
If you never lacked attention this may sound weird, but is painfully true for many. Having someone in your life that pays attention to you, that knows what is going on with you, that would notice a change, that is there to share your sorrow or your happiness, is a vital part of being happy.
Where it comes to goal setting you more easily picture a business environment, a masculine environment characterized by sharpness, efficiency and effectiveness. If we had to put a female filter to all this we would have:
Goal setting becomes expressing desires
A business environment would become the kitchen of an herbalist or the practice space of an healer,
Sharpness would be replaced by intuition,
Efficiency would become attention
And effectiveness would turn into wholeheartedness.
What would actually be different?
And do we have to choose for one of the two styles or can we combine them?
We have smoke detector and first help kit at home, because we know something could go wrong, a fire could start or someone could get wounded even if we are really careful. However we are often not prepared for the possibility that an affair could impact our relationship.
We are also not ready in case of depression or burn out. Why is that? It could very well be that each of us has a different answer to this, my personal impression if I listen to people is that there are some things so scary and so difficult to deal with that we close our eyes to it and live hoping it will never affect us. In this group of scary things we avoid is infidelity, depression, burn out and few other things that could happen in life.
Curiosity doesn’t traditionally play much of a role in conflicts, not even when we try to solve them. The desire is often more directed on explaining our reason than on listening the reason of the other. Inquiry about the background of the problem at hand is a rare phenomenon.
Why is that?
I believe the lack of curiosity in de midst of a conflict has to do with two main aspects:
When we are in a conflicts we tend to be pulled towards the affirmation of what we want. Being both parties so engaged in this exercise of asserting dominance inevitably something get lost in translations.
Think of countries, religious or political groups that have been fighting each other for 10 or 20 years and have learned so little about the other in all that time.
The Dalai Lama say that when you talk you learn nothing, you may be right, but you learn nothing, only when you listening you can open up to learning.
Think of one conflict you find yourself in at the moment or the last you had and reflect on what where your motivation to hold on to the conflict or to enter the conflict in first place.
Then you can consider what you know about the motivation of the other party in the conflict. Do you actually know what the motivation of the other is?
Often conflicts are seen as a simple match between parties, both sure to be right and both prepared to have a fight over it. One will win, the other will lose. Unfortunately the efforts and all the attention tends to go to the goal of winning, rather than to finding a solution that improve the situation.
Most people have a preferred strategy in case of possible conflicts and that is to avoid them at any cost. The price you pay to avoid any kind of conflict, always and at any cost, can be one of the following, just to give a few examples:
- Stress that builds up in your body and manifests itself in your behavior;
- Sleeping badly;
- Superficial relationship with other people: because you never say what you really think to avoid a conflict;
- Unfulfilled dreams: when you avoid potentially conflicting situations and in doing so you lose opportunities.
There was an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench thinking about his own business.
A woman passing by looked at him and thought: 'What an old pervert, creepy!'
After a few minutes a second woman was walking by the bench when she noticed the old gentleman. She smiled and felt a warmth inside and she thought: 'it reminds me of when my grandfather used to take me to the park to play, the best afternoons of my childhood'.
Shortly after, a third person passed by,