Dedicated to C
I’ve been thinking about Graham Long’s statement about not being met, and also about quid pro quo.
Yesterday I was on the phone to a new friend and had the experience of not being met. I was whingeing about something and nothing, and she pulled me up. She told me it was a quick call only, she had things to do, and so on. She didn’t ignore what I was complaining about. She said a few words about it, and then moved on.
Straightaway, I went into a sulk, felt flattened, got narky with her; in short, I was totally disempowered. We ended the call a few minutes later.
Afterwards, I thought about what had happened. I could see it had nothing to do with her and that it was something very familiar to me, something I’d experienced many times in my life. As I was looking, I saw the thought I’d had at one point in the conversation,
You should listen to me whinge because I’ve listened to you go on and on about your issues for hours …
“Ahhh, yes”, I thought.
Later in the day, I got the other part of it. I was on the phone to another friend, a friend who once complained that she always had to talk first in our conversations, and suddenly I saw what I do. I collect brownie points with my friends! Credit points in listening that I feel I should be able to redeem at any time!
When I’m having a conversation with my friends, at some level I’m thinking, “If I listen to her, then when I start speaking she will remember that and not interrupt me when I start speaking …” I also saw the whole stinking structure is built on the fear that I will not be heard, that I will be cut off.
Wow! What a piece of work!
As soon as I saw that, it all fell away. I saw I can just be responsible for being heard and not being cut off. If someone cuts me off, I can say it doesn’t work for me and request we speak at another time when he or she can listen. I can also say upfront in the conversation what I want.
Living life from the principle of quid pro quo sucks. What sucks even more is not being aware one is doing it.
Image: Edison’s anti-gravity underwear from Punch, 1879, courtesy of The Science Book Store
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