How do you tell someone, anyone, something they are not able to hear? With no specific individual in mind as I write this, there are times where a friend or client is unable or unwilling to hear one’s thoughts or ideas. The rejection is advance comes no matter how truth filled or needed the message is.
As I continue to struggle with the question, there are several realities that have stayed with me.
Barriers to hearing are not always linked to quantity or quality. Other messages may or may not be getting through. The most consistent theme is the ability to hear what reinforces the status quo. Most find it easy to hear and embrace what s/he already believes. The additional words address uncertainty, deal with the fear that one is wrong, and gives those looking for courage strength. All words that are different are a threat, even when they are not.
When asked to help others hear what they cannot hear, the process of opening them to alternatives always starts with the individual and where s/he is. There are no shortcuts. One must reach out, embrace, and deal with the weaknesses and fears present before one walks with the individual into the unknown.
To grow, one must be on a road to recovery and strength. The process is like going to the gym. When one is fully recovered or in a good recovery space, the probability of injury dramatically goes down. One comes away tired and refreshed. The process strengthens one’s core and improves the quality of life.
There are those who lobby for retribution when another cannot or will not hear. Life reminds me that when we use truth as intended we open an opportunity to rebuild our lives from the inside out. The opposite is equally true. We can be aggressive; asking and demanding for “those who think they know so much, ignoring everything you tell them – let them have it!” (Psalm 119.21) Alternatively, we can bring compassion and empathy to the present. With the possibility of trust, truth can be heard.