The other night, having a fun (and at times revealing) conversation with dear friends, I realized, my actions are sometimes dismissive of others. When I do it intentionally, it’s usually to make a point or exert a bit of power over someone and make them feel “a little less than.” But I was surprised by my lack of self-awareness for those unintended occasions when I force myself into a situation (conversation) which may or may not be of any concern for me, resulting in dismissing others.  (The name has been changed to protect the innocent, so let’s just call the other person Karen. You have a 50/50 chance of guessing if it’s her or not. Don’t overthink this. It could be or not.) The details of this exchange are not exactly important. For me, I unintentionally dismissed someone’s place, participation and power in the situation, in which they had competency and control in the matter. I was completely unaware of what I did. It was a bit startling because I am a modern kind of guy and I try to embody healthy behaviors, attitudes and actions.  But obviously, I am not as effective as I imagine myself. I’m not going to atone by flogging myself, I don’t do well with pain. This has to do with moving a realization toward a new practice. (Perhaps, it is the definition of transformation – moving a realization toward a new practice.)  Here’s what I’m going to try – slow down my reactivity, lessen my claim on my self-importance, develop a deeper awareness of situations, expand my perspective of the other and challenge certain assumptions about them. So now, it’s the “how.”  How do I start? How do I slow down my reactivity? I think I’ll begin with listening better and see where that leads.

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 19:20
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.”

Reflection Questions:
What advice have you received recently?
What helps you develop better situational awareness?
How can you listen better?

Prayer: Holy God, slow me down a bit today and let my ears be opened to listening better.  Let me walk in your goodness and do for others what may lead them to you. Amen.