I heard a quote this week “Be where your feet are” How powerful are those five words. This article is about always attempting to have an open mind and consider a perspective beyond your own. It is about how when we seek to understand another viewpoint; we allow that person to be heard. What better gift can we give ourselves or the people we are with than our attention and awareness that they, like us, want to be seen.
I needed to rebook a flight on Delta today and spoke to an agent because I had upgraded to comfort plus. When I went to make the change online, there was a disclosure "any upgrades will not be credited" Delta has a nice feature where you can have an agent call you back rather than sitting on hold. The anticipated hold time was 2.5 hours, so I opted to have the call returned.
Around 2 hours later, my phone vibrates, and it is Delta Airlines, press one to speak to an agent. The agent says good evening, announces my name, and confirms I had called in. Then he asks, "how are you this evening?" I respond I am doing great, thank you. I asked him, "how are you doing?
He replies, fine, and asks why I have called. As the conversation continues and he explains he is getting his system back online, I explain why I am reaching and changing my flight. He shares a similar situation he was in, and for the next few minutes, we are two people taking time to communicate to listen. When his system is up, and he has found the new flights, he shares that he asks that opening question on every call, and rarely does anyone ever take the time to ask back, "how are you doing?"
After I had completed the survey and, of course, given him a solid "5" rating, I paused and tried to reflect how often when dealing with individuals for business transactions do I take the time to ask, "how are you doing." I concluded not often enough.
I realized something over the last 30 days. I know nothing when it comes to all there is to know. When I was younger, I strived to be right. To understand the answers, to be the person people could go to. I had thoughts about parenting, marriage, and life. Then life happened, and over time I realized, thoughts are all they were. The realization that facts are one-person interpretations of life or rules.
I spent a lifetime believing certain things about the economy and political parties. Then my 20 something daughter challenged my beliefs and thoughts. Over the last two years, I have attempted to be open-minded and consider maybe there was another viewpoint. I researched and found I had believed what I had been told without any proof to substantiate the information.
My profession is in Saas sales and I love marketing and commercials and how companies find their way into our homes and lives. However, this same funnel of information has been used to skew our view of society, people, and ourselves. We seek validation and acceptance from the outside and then wonder why depression is on the rise.
We spend our time watching other people's lives while ours is passing us by. We want so bad to fit in, and when we do, we wonder how we can stand out. I don't have the answers, and I am not sure anyone does. However, I have realized this. We don't know what it is like to be a gender we are not. We don't know what it is like to have faith in a religion different from our own beliefs or religion. We don't know what it is like to have a different skin tone or ethnicity than our own.
However, tonight I learned we all want to not only be heard, more importantly, feel heard, and all want to be seen. We have no control beyond our own actions, yet it is amazing the power and influence of one person. A person who has looked inward to know what is right, who takes time to see people and understands the value in asking what can I learn from this moment rather than am I right at this moment.
Questions to consider:
Am I more worried about being right than try to see a different point of view?
When I am with others, am I where my feet are? Am I present?
Do I see people? Do you take time to acknowledge not only their words but their body language?
When we look inward and consider how we can shift the dialogue rather than how we can defend our viewpoint we open a bridge beyond right or wrong. There is an amazing quote from Rumi, “Out beyond the fields of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” It reminds us we must all be open to consider the other person’s point of view.