How to Diffuse an Angry World
Want to listen instead? Click here!
“Mom, do you ever feel like people just listen to respond instead of listen to hear?”
My daughter asked me the question during a season in which it seemed the entire planet was having one big Facebook argument.
Her question was a sober one. Even though she asked it months ago I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
It’s not fun is it?
It’s disheartening to talk to someone who based on the immediacy and nature of their response make it clear they weren’t listening.
They were simply figuring out what they were going to say next.
Talk about nerve!
And then I realized, I do it too.
I don't listen to hear
Ironically, I do it the most to the people I care about the most. But there’s hope!
I have an acronym that I’ve modified. I use it for more than one area in my life.
It’s called S.N.A.P. and it stands for:
I discovered this gem in the book on enneagram’s that I’ve mentioned before, The Road Back to You. I promise I’ll quit talking about the book but dang, it has so many pearls.
The authors encourage the use of SNAP to help modify faulty “scripts”. We’ve all got them. Those “same old, same old” reactions we have that don’t reflect the person we want to be.
But I’ve also found that the acronym helps me when I catch myself wanting to respond instead of really hear the people that are talking to me. If you’re in the same boat try this:
Stop– Another person is talking. That’s all this step requires. Look into the other persons eyes and listen.
Notice– While they are talking do a quick mental inventory. Notice what’s happening in your brain? Are you focused on the other person or are you more focused on what you are thinking or feeling?
Ask– Invite God to help you hear the other person. Ask Him to give you eyes that see and ears that hear what they are trying to communicate.
Pivot– This is where we take action. By stopping, noticing and asking we now know that we can respond in one of two ways:
- Bite Our Tongue
- Invite God Into Our Response
We may decide we need to bite our tongue. The most important action to take may be no action at all. This may be a moment in which the other person simply needs to vent. Bottom line, we’re convicted (at least for the time being) that the best thing to say is nothing at all.
However, we may decide that a verbal response is what the situation requires. Just as we asked God to help us listen, this is the moment we ask God to help us respond in a way that speaks truth in love. Now we can offer words that result in clarification, encouragement or both.
The world seems to be full of angry people who want to be heard, many of them for good reason.
Anger often occurs because there is a need for change.
But positive change in a positive manner won’t occur until we hear each other first.
Listening to hear is something the world needs. But I know this———
I have to start in my own backyard first.
Savoring the journey with you,
Never miss a post again… subscribe here!