How To Communicate With People Who Aren't On The Same Page
We love music in our house. My daughter listens to Taylor Swift, I listen to Michael Franti, my husband likes the Cure and my son loves Skrillex. So listening to music when the whole family is home can create quite a challenge. We usually end up with some mixture of headphones, a compromise and my son goes to his room.
Being a 14-year-old, he likes his music loud. I don't, which is usually a problem for both of us. When I walk by my son's room and call out, "Turn the music down!" I'm typically met with an eye roll and a sigh. I see the eye roll, hear the sigh and immediately get cranky; he hears my request and immediately gets cranky. No one is happy.
Why do we get so triggered by this seemingly innocent request and response?
Because of the monkey mind. The monkey mind is an automatic response our mind creates in any given situation: "You look pretty"is met with, "I feel fat." "You did a great job!" gets, "Did you see what I screwed up?"
In the interaction with my son, two things happened:
1. A request was made to turn down the volume.
2. Eye roll and a sigh.
Our monkey minds got on board and changed everything. He doesn't hear a request to lower the volume; he hears, "I hate your music, and you have bad judgment, you don't make good choices." I see the eye roll, hear the sigh and go right to, "I know he doesn't respect me, I knew it last Christmas when he wouldn't help clear the table."
Unfortunately, the monkey mind is an automatic response. We are involved in a situation where something happens and our monkey mind starts making judgments, comments, providing "evidence" thus altering relationships based on very little provocation.
But what if the eye roll is just an eye roll? And what if he request to lower the volume was just that, a request? Wouldn't seeing the situation for what it was make life a bit easier?
What if every time I was met with an eye roll I paused before my monkey mind took over? How would my interactions with my son transform if I simply asked what the eye roll was about?
How would my son feel differently if instead of assuming that I hate his music, he asked if I wanted to listen to his music with him so I could learn about it?
If we simply paused for a moment to distinguish what actually happened from our monkey mind's reaction; how easily could a relationship be transformed?
So I challenge you to take on three practices to transform your relationships in the moment.
1. Pause for just a moment.
2. Distinguish what actually happened from what your monkey mind created.
3. Communicate from a place of love.
Apply these practices with any relationship you're interested in transforming. For bonus points, try it with that person in your life who, for whatever reason, you have to engage with but simply don't like. It's really a liberating feeling in that moment when you realize "Oh, I made that up." Once you can make the distinction between the facts and your monkey mind, you're free to be present with the person instead of being upset.
Then turn up the music and dance.