Two letters (really one, twice) make a world of difference.
If you’re anything like me, there’s some deep hardwiring to want to correct.
Spouse presents what feels like a criticism, hit ’em back with the, “yeah, but I was…”
Client shares some concerns on something you see differently, and the ol’ trusty half-apology, hella-defensiveness comes out, “sorry you feel that way, but we….”
Boss questions some reports, dip into the justification, “well, the numbers don’t tell the full story here…”
None of those (and soooo many more cards like them that I’ve played over the years) aren’t necessarily wrong. Or bad. Or untrue even.
But, man, do they miss the mark of possible outcomes.
When we’re ungrounded, uncertain, and unsettled, we defend our turf like a scared animal.
Correcting, justifying, explaining.
When we’re grounded, humble, and secure, we lay those defenses down, and invite whatever may be said to or about us.
Because it’s not actually about us anyway.
And then, instead of taking it so personally to feel the need to correct and defend, we’re able to connect.
Which is what all of these (and many more, of course) examples are about anyway.
An invitation to connect.
Disguised as criticism. Wearing the mask of skepticism. Taking the form of a private investigation.
But really, they’re all just asking their own forms of:
Do you see me?
Do you understand me?
Will you value my voice and hear what I have to say?
The well-worn paths lead us to well-familiar places.
Arguments. Dissension. Isolation. Division. Winners and losers.
But the scary road that looks a little ragged, the one entered through vulnerability, awareness, and security, leads to what it is we’re really after.
Those tricky little rr’s can hijack that effort so quick though.
So do those closest to me.