Inviting Dialogue with Others

“If we as individuals cannot speak to each other, how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?” This is the verse that is paired with the photograph, Invitation of Dialogue.

When I wrote this verse, I was thinking about all the times I have heard people speak to each other in gruff and unkind ways. I have always felt badly for the recipient of those  words and nasty tone of voice.

In our search for peace and sobriety, we will find that how we talk to others matters. If we are kind, considerate, and respectful, we will feel much better about ourselves and we will have much better relations with others.

We can invite wholesome conversation or dialogue if we share our thoughts with others. By thoughts, I mean things like how we are feeling, our reactions to what they have said or done.

I am not talking about merely saying hello, and asking how another is doing, although these phrases are what we will say to others when in a quick, passing encounter. Instead, I am talking about the on-going discussions we have with people that are close to us, that we see on an on-going basis. 

If we have the courage to tell someone that what they said was hurtful, for example, and why, this opens the way to a more meaningful exchange. If we do this, there is no need to act out our hurt, or to hurt another in retaliation.

Understanding on the part of the other person, with resulting compromise, can be a gift of our honesty about what we truly think and feel. This can occur if we approach the other in kindness, without lashing out. Rather, we can calmly relay our concerns.

A large part of dialogue with another is tuning into what they are all about, what they are thinking or feeling. In other words, we can get out of ourselves and our need to talk about ourselves by showing interest in the other person and their needs, wants, and desires. When we do this, we are being of service to the other person. 

Today, I invite you to share with others your true thoughts, desires and needs, without hostility. Notice the resulting dialogue that occurs from this space. Be curious about the other person, determining their wants and needs and desires. Be of service to that person with whom you are speaking. Tell me, doesn’t that feel more satisfying, more  fulfilling? Doesn’t that enhance your sobriety and lead you to peace?



Dialogue with Others

“If we as individuals cannot speak to each other, how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?”

This is the verse that accompanies the next image in the book. We are walking through my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, one topic at a time. Our goals are sobriety and peace.

I was struck with awe when I saw this gate, as the little men seemed to be not only talking to each other, but listening as well. They seemed to be engaged in dialogue.

We as humans need to get ourselves together on the inside, and when we do, we then need to be able to communicate and interact with others in a meaningful way. When I say “meaningful,” I am referring to talking in a kind and respectful manner.

I listen to those around me when I am in public places, like the grocery store, and I am struck with how many people speak to each other in a mean or sarcastic way. I cringe when I hear this, thinking to myself that there is no kindness shown… no respect. And my heart is sad, believing that there is another way to talk with each other that is less hurtful.

As we engage in talking with another, we can, as I said, show kindness and respect. We can also show tolerance. There is no need to be sarcastic or defensive. And, one of the biggest things we can do when engaged with another is to listen to what they are saying, to have an interest in them.

Don’t worry. We will each get our chance to talk about ourselves and, if we don’t, then it was not meant to be. The other had something to get off their chest and we were the sounding board.

Yet, in a perfect world of dialogue with others,  it is a give and take of conversation, an ebb and flow of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. This makes for a rich and satisfying exchange for both parties.

In your conversations, are you kind, respectful, and tolerant to the other? Do you listen to what they are really saying, taking the time to not worry what you will say when it’s your turn to talk? Do you dialogue with others, talk with them, or do you talk to them? Today, be conscious of your dialogue with others and see if that feels different for you.