On listening and speaking

A quote has been circling in my head from Jerry Colonna on The Tim Ferriss show:

What am I saying that’s not being heard? What is being said that I’m not hearing?

When I think of this quote I think about what people are communicating, not only with their words but with their actions and mannerisms, that I may not be picking up on.

Intuition also comes to mind: what is on the periphery of my awareness that I’m not paying attention to?

I think too about the buildup of all the words that circle in me that I do not let others hear because I fear they won’t be well-received. I start to wonder how I could speak these words delicately enough to land in a way that builds trust with the recipient—the kind of trust that you share with a friend who tells you when you have spinach in your teeth. I try to add up how much energy it takes to have these words circle over and over, day in and day out, never being spoken.

Courage and vulnerability come to mind, then a memory of my sister. She sighs and rolls her eyes when we’re alone at an Ethiopian restaurant, resisting and then finally giving into telling me why she is upset with me. It’s at once an attack and a gesture of kindness: she’s giving us the opportunity to sort it out instead of letting a rift grow between us.

Forthcoming honesty is a gift, though one sometimes too burning to remember to say thank you as catch it.