🚨 MAJOR KEY🔑 ALERT 🚨
This one is going to seem like a no-brainer. It’s not.
It would seem as though we ought to have these skills down. We don’t.
I can only speak for myself when I say that literally anything can be broken down more effectively, or conveyed more empathetically.
Bento C Leal III (honestly, lets just take a moment to bask in the regality and phonemic fun that is this author’s name. “I am Bento, of House Leal, not even the first of my name!”henceforth referred to as BCL3) ‘s bite-sized book is an easy but nutritious read. It’s full of takeaways, and highly applicable.
Although tempting, DO NOT give it away to your best friend, or little cousin, or blabber-mouth coworker. Especially not in an earnest but shady attempt to get them to shut up and listen. You’ll find that to someone, and perhaps even to yourself, that you may be the blabber-mouthed, hard-headed, non-negotiator. Keep it and reread it. Find a few on Amazon, stock up for the holidays, or send them the PDF. This book makes an excellent turkey, stocking, or pie hole stuffer.
Trust me, I’m a
person that was thinking about going to medical school doctor.
4EK’s twelve brief chapters set the scene and take the reader from symptom, to diagnosis, to cure. He starts in chapters one through three with an anecdote that rings all to true: routine conversations with friends, coworkers, strangers and loved ones. He outlines how we might easily convince ourselves that in our many years of travel around the sun, we simply MUST have picked up real and successful communication skills. We mustn’t.
“… envision yourself experiencing relationship success…”
If we were all communication gurus, and barring any unforeseen events, we’d be with the lives of our lives, enjoying the circumstances of our lives, and chatting effortlessly and openly with our managers in best most fully-stocked break rooms of our lives. But we aren’t. We explode or we sublimate. We settle and we circumvent. We are communicating poorly! With our moms, bosses, partners (sometimes those roles overlap) and most importantly with ourselves.
“In the very moment I was focusing on communication “skills” with him, I had forgotten about the overall purpose of communication…”
BCL3 describes an all-to-familiar phenomenon in well-read, blog- writing, book-learning individuals such as myself. We are more hung up on the performance of communication than truly listening, empathizing, and speaking tactfully. We get so caught up in “What I hear you saying is…” that we haven’t read between the lines, viewed this individual and situation in context, or actually heard a thing. Classical listening (or pretending to listen) to respond. To be right, to SOUND present, to look good.
🔑 #1 To overcome this BCL3 suggests that we develop the skill of “… mindfully valuing ourselves and others”. He calls it Empathetic Awareness.
But EA ain’t no game! … 👀🥴
Empathetic awareness requires self love. I know, plot twist. In order to value and truly listen to someone else, we need to love, value, and find ourselves worthy of being listened to. Damn! SMH BCL3 goes on to address the challenges in valuing a listening to difficult characters in our lives.
“But what about a person I don’t like!” “…people who are challenging for you to deal with may be an opportunity to stretch your heart and grow your character.”
He suggests we fake it till we make it, referencing a Harvard psychologist. We have to act and treat the bridge trolls with love to simulate and trigger love toward them. By focusing on the good inside the dumpster fire of a person you’re talking to, you develop (eventually, with practice) the genuine desire to relate and communicate earnestly. This process could reveal to you that the intent and motivation of your arch rival may not be to peg you with a kryptonite phallus.
Insert handy-dandy worksheet activity where you can reflect on your Empathetic Awareness. (There’s several in the book!)
🔑 #2 Empathetic Listening Skill
Roze: “Alexa, play me out!”
Lex: “Now playing ‘I Got the Keys’ by DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z and Future”