Most people recognize that there’s a difference between talking ‘with’ someone VS talking ‘at’ someone, but that difference can sometimes be subtle. Let’s get into it.
As we start to realize more about ourselves, and our behavior starts to change, a funny thing happens. We become excited about what we’ve learned and we want to share it with people. But we find that these people may not understand what we’re saying and we start to think of them as stupid, or inferior. Let’s call this trait in ourselves Righteousness because we tend to think we are ‘right’ and people doing things the old way are ‘wrong’.
We give them all kinds of funny names, such as a “muggle” or “someone with a huge ego” or “stuck in their mind” or “no emotional intelligence”, or a slew of other evidence that their opinion or value or effectiveness is somehow less worthwhile.
Many people on a path of personal development flat out refuse to cater to people who are “in their ego”. They so deeply want to be “authentic” (so they believe) that they refuse to share anything other than the “Truth”.
Technically, they are providing a test. Either the other person will pass or they will fail. Subconsciously, their wounded feminine aspect is testing their safety within the masculine aspect of the other (I’ll share more on that in another post). In other words, they are creating a very exclusive filter to be heard only by the people who are on their very ‘elite’ wavelength. They may even declare that they’d rather not be heard by others, because the message contains too much truth for them.
This righteousness trap is so easy to fall into because we truly do believe our words to be true, and we really are attempting to speak authentically. However, what if we asked the question “If the other person doesn’t believe it, is it still true?”. Only half of the two people in the conversation would say yes. If one of them refuses to phrase their truth in a way that the other person can understand, it remains only true to the first person – and so there has been no progress. The conversation may as well have not even taken place.
Here’s the alternative – we can speak to be heard. When we take our time to make our words digestible, this is a true sign of maturity and patience. The ultimate goal of personal development is to spread loving knowledge, not just knowledge. When we go out of our way to be heard, even if it’s frankly a less logical route, it may mean the difference between our point getting across or not landing at all. A softer message may not always be the most fact driven, and yet people can only bite off one chunk at a time.
If we really want to be authentic, the truth is very likely that we want to be heard. It’s ultimately our responsibility to grow into the version of ourselves that’s willing to make that happen. If we really want to be authentic, sometimes that means getting a point across through telling a fictional story. If we really want to be authentic, that means checking in often with our audience to find out what’s working for them and what’s not. No one ‘truth’ will work for all. We are not copy/pasting data into another person’s head. When we are sharing information with somebody, we are signing up to speak their language – which means coaxing their learning chemical (dopamine) out of their brain. If we think of dopamine as the ‘save’ button and we choose not to press it, our communication can be considered ineffective.