Today is Not the Blueprint for Tomorrow
In the last post, we talked about listening. I ran across this quote in some of my old writing that was shared with me when I was a graduate student. It seemed apropos: “Listening is the willingness to risk my assumptions so that I am changed by what you share.”
That’s how you know you’ve listened:
What you heard changes something in you.
Listening might change your appreciation for the struggle or pain, it might change how you understand what happened, it might change how you see a situation or belief structure, it might cause you to make room for more perspectives than your own, it might cause you to cry or heave a sigh of relief.
Sometimes, however, the damage between two people is great—our kids are harsh in their assessment of us and we feel battered and bludgeoned by their (seemingly) unending invectives—we don’t feel we can listen any more, after giving it our best. I do understand self-protection in those moments and the need to take breaks.
Today is not the blueprint for tomorrow.
It is only today.
Risk your assumptions, be changed by what you hear, self-soothe, get support, create healthy boundaries, but make them permeable so that an adult child may return. Stay open to the possibility that there is more to know, understand, appreciate, and hear.
Listening doesn’t happen all in one go. It is a process over time, with ever increasing awareness of the depth of a context or circumstance or relationship.