Walking in Enemy Territory

Perception is everything. You’ve undoubtedly heard that one before. In fact, you may have heard it enough times that you forget how true it really it.

In the past week I have had several meetings that I went in to with a lot of
concerns and uncertainties. Have you ever built something up in your mind in theBusinessmen fighting name of preparation, but it didn’t seem to help? I sometimes try to be prepared for everything, but no matter how much I prepare and think it through I still don’t know how it’s going to go. I go into conversation feeling uncertain, but how will I feel afterward? Victorious? Superior? …Whipped?

Well, in each of my conversations, I walked out not in triumph but enlightened.
Instead of taking the gloves off, I asked some questions. And you know what? 100% of the time I didn’t fully understand the other person’s point of view until they told me.

If there is one thing that’s true about human beings, it’s that we are NOT good mind readers. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have people calling me all the time asking me to “channel” some kind of answer for life’s biggest questions. The best way for me to understand other people (and I know this may be shocking) is by talking to them. Questions are your best friends in tricky situations. Assumptions, well you know what they say about those…

A good way to think about perspective is to picture yourself as a spy working spy-6undercover. I’m not sure what spies do on their day off, but I have a feeling they are more laid back than when they’re on the job. They aren’t looking around every corner in an effort to prevent being caught or exposed. People act differently when they believe they are in enemy territory than when they’re on friendly soil. Our whole perspective changes. This is especially true in every relationship that experiences conflicts (which, as it turns out, is all of them).

If I walk into any conversation thinking I’m engaging the enemy, I’m only going to come out swinging. But friends are different. Friends are given the benefit of the doubt. Friends are your friends because you tell each other the truth. So before I do anything I need to remember who I’m dealing with.

I’ve been learning again that if I hold back the truth in any valuable relationship, whether what’s true is that I’m scared, skeptical, angry, happy or hurt, then I am cheating that relationship of its full potential, and I can’t blame anyone but myself.

If I am unwilling to trust my colleague, spouse or friend enough to tell them the truth, I am simply allowing a sad game of charades to take the place of real relationship. (Inherent in this is the underlying assumption that I know how they are going to respond, which is why I choose to hold back. I blame the other person for the response I assume they will make, not upon reality. And we’re back to assuming…)

So give it a try. You’re not required to agree with everyone, but if you don’t agree, learn how to tell others your views. That’s actually the reason you have differing views, because we are not all the same. That would be an incredibly boring world to live in. Our differences make us better, but only if we let them.

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4 Replies to “Walking in Enemy Territory”

  1. I agree! It’s definitely difficult to be the one that’s pouring your heart out, and getting a response of, “I hear what you are saying”, which isn’t a response at all. You walk away completely frustrated, unclear of what’s been communicated, and/or disregarded. Communication from both sides is warranted. I’m not sure this is from the enemy, or if this is a learned/unconscious response so that we don’t have to deal with the situation.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

    1. Thanks Felicia, great thoughts! I used to know a guy who said “Every problem in the world is a relationship problem.” I like to add to it that every relationship problem in the world is a communication problem. Everything changes based on perspective for sure. Just had a great lunch with your hubbie, he misses you! Hope you have a great trip.

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