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It's Not About Me!

Last time we talked about perception and how we are all different. It’s just as well we are because how boring would it be if we were all the same. Often the way we deal with people or challenges in our lives comes from growing up in our family of origin (FOO). Psychology suggests that most of us have had some sort of childhood trauma, even small things like tough kids at school, gangs or just being on the outer. These and other events, whether they are minor or major, impact on our adult relationships. Unfortunately the way that we behave is very often unconscious and automatic, so that we may be blind to the impact our behaviour has on others especially those that we care about. God wants us to see clearly.

‘Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.’ Matthew 7:5 NLT

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These maybe dysfunctional personality characteristics are often obvious to others who know us well (or not so well). It’s uncomfortable but people can often see things about us that we are oblivious to. Be assured, that your nearest and dearest probably complains to you about them so you may have some hints. We think we have projected a certain persona to the world or on social media but God knows who we really are and He wants us to be better so He is keen, I believe, for us to see these logs in our eyes. He wants to help us change, so it's good to listen well and check with God.

What about when we see things in others? How do we approach some of these hard conversations whilst both hearing them and understanding them from their perspective? The first step is to really listen, to hear beneath the surface.

God does this for us. In 1 John 5, the Bible says that He hears us! How good is that? We can go to Him whenever we want and He will always, always (yes, I said always), listen. We might be in pain, we might be angry or joyful or in love or we might be hurting. Whatever our emotion – He is listening to us as we come to Him. How does that help our relationships you might ask?

Well, you might sometimes get upset with people and let it all out— the good, the bad and the ugly. We know that Jesus hears people who are in pain and He is there for everyone. As Christians, we are to be a little Christs in our worlds, in other words: we should endeavour to really hear and really listen beneath the surface.

Listening is different to hearing. We can hear but when we pay attention to what is being said, rather than to what we want to say in response, this makes a huge difference to the speaker and impacts positively on the relationship because we all desire to be known, heard and accepted. Practice or role-play with a friend and really listen deeply to what they are saying. Practice empathising by clarifying what you have heard by reflecting back what they are saying and then checking your understanding with them.

You know what? It’s not about you when you’re hearing in a deep and listening way to others, it’s about them at that time. I’m sure that you know yourself, when you really need to be heard, a listening ear is a wonderful gift and brings comfort— so be that for others. Then they’ll be more willing to hear you out at another time.

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God bless

Love Peta

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