True or false? The more words we use, the more persuasive we will be. Sounds logical; isn’t more of something better? Sometimes. But in this case, the above statement is false! In fact, our continuing to talk can worsen things. It can even bring co-workers to duck under their desks as they see us approach.
A while ago a loved one pointed something out that I didn’t want to hear. They told me I usually had to be RIGHT! What? The good listener I thought I was—didn’t translate out to always letting go of a matter when it’d help. Might you have that habit, perhaps without thinking about it? Further, by going on and on, are we implying that the listener is lacking in knowledge or understanding? Actually they may in fact be lacking, but are we responsible for changing someone’s mind?
Here is a way to heighten peace in our lives: After we have stated our opinion and, say, added a few words of clarification, ...STOP TALKING. Can be hard to do but not impossible. For the next few days, step “outside yourself “ and watch. What seems to be your pattern? Might it be that we keep on with more and more words? If so, begin catching yourself before we spout off more. Sometimes we will forget, but we should be getting better and better over time.
It could be that our timing is making things even worse. Correcting someone right after they mess up usually is taken as a put-down. In contrast, if we wait until a similar situation presents itself, the listener is more likely to be open to ideas. Propose a specific action that could improve things, and ask the listener for help in that area. For example, your loved one may leave the thermostat on a setting overnight that runs up a utility cost. In the morning, you could lambast them, throwing in your criticism of their not caring about it. Wait. Not good timing. That evening, make sure you have the undivided attention of the listener, and calmly request the thermostat be set at the more economical setting. Ask if they will do that. Sometimes, though, people never give attention to something we deem important. In that case, I suggest trying something else, such as a timer to automatically set temp for night time.
With children, there are many opportunities for parents to nag and bark at children. Instead, consider if your request is important; it may well be. Then, tell the child once. After that, let a consequence do the teaching. This should be proportional to the importance of the task, and be clear ahead of time.
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