How do you envision a peaceful world? What are some of the characteristics of a peaceful society for you?
The tragic death of George Floyd has brought back conversations on race and discrimination that remains a work-in-progress for humanity to tackle.
What people are speaking out for is the desire for lives to be respected regardless of one’s origins or background. This is because every life is precious and worthy of respect.
Anger is understandable but ultimately self-defeating. Because in a dialogue, people respond not only to what is said, but how it is said. A raised voice can be heard but isn’t always listened to. A gentle word may get ignored at first, but can break down barriers as drips of water can wear away stone.
To value human life, we need the heart to understand one another. I view dialogue as a gradual but sure way to achieve this. Dialogue isn’t just conversation. It starts with talking but it ends with listening. It can begin at a superficial level but it has the potential to get deeper. Its end product is to know someone for who they truly are – something seemingly so basic that we often take for granted.
Dialogue is an art. It makes the world a kinder place to live in. I tried it and this is what I realised:
I listened and was told secrets
Ever find yourself drifting away from a conversation? You’ve probably missed out on active listening. Listening means making a conscious effort to understand what was said, remembering it and then giving a response where needed.
It’s not easy, and you’d be surprised how few people hear, but don’t actually listen. Make the effort to pay attention and you might find people opening up to you, even people whom you may have just met for the first time.
I cleared the air and can be myself
Assumptions often cause misunderstandings.
Worse, that misunderstanding can lead to a disagreement, and failing to talk things out in a disagreement often leads to avoidance. In the end, everyone is miserable, just because no one clears the air.
Doesn’t it feel good not to bottle up negative feelings and just freely speak your mind? Stop second-guessing yourself and pluck up the courage to deal with misunderstandings by talking about it face to face.
That said, you should understand that every one of us is wired differently. We should take pride in our individuality. A dialogue is not to resolve any differences but simply helps to facilitate greater understanding so that we can co-exist harmoniously. It gives us the awareness to learn how to respect one another, which brings out the kindness in us all.
I learnt how to talk to another person
It takes effort to know someone. And to take an interest in another person is part of what makes us human, isn’t it? Having a genuine intention to know someone personally and not just superficially creates amazing conversations that can rekindle a zest for life.
Never doubt the power in you to inspire hope in another person! And the first step in doing that is having a willing heart and a listening ear.