Look for what you have in common.
Be willing to admit you were wrong.
Be more eager to listen than to talk.
Yesterday’s Catch was about building bridges. It listed 7 different things we could do to help build bridges with people instead of walls. Marti thought it was a brilliant Catch. Then she challenged me to pick them off, one by one, and write about how I’m really doing with each one of these suggestions.
Wait a minute. That’s a violation of the cardinal rule of teaching, which is: The teacher is exempt from having to apply what he/she is teaching to him/herself. If you came up with it, you are obviously doing it. Not.
People say I’m a vulnerable writer/speaker. It’s what many say they like about me. People say it about the Catch. I’m the expert on vulnerability. Maybe so, but it’s a calculated vulnerability.
Whether I’m speaking or writing, I’m doing all the talking. I may be vulnerable, but I’m showing you what I’ve pre-arranged to show you about myself. It’s selected vulnerability. Ask my wife; it’s much different in everyday life.
Vulnerability isn’t something you can calculate or select. You can only BE vulnerable. And only you — and most likely the person you are with, if they know you well enough — know if you are or you are not being vulnerable. When you are being vulnerable, your defenses are down. You are unguarded. You are unsure of the outcome. You are, to some extent, outside yourself. It’s a little like being emotionally and spiritually naked.
But it’s important that you are present to do this. You are all there. I’m an expert at being there but not being all there. My body is present but myself is not even in the room. This is the hard part, because if you’ve gotten good at doing this, it’s hard to stop.
The best way to do this is to be out of yourself and into someone else. I don’t think you can be vulnerable when focusing on yourself. When you are focused on yourself is when you are calculated, selective and pulling back like a turtle into its shell. I know this all too well. I’m there, I’m talking, my voice is echoing around the shell of my isolation chamber, but I might as well be talking to myself. To focus on someone else is to stick my neck out — to come out of my chamber. I can’t even see or make contact with the other person unless I come out of my shell, and once I do that — without even noticing (because I am no longer self-aware) — I am vulnerable. It happens when you lose yourself in someone else.
Jesus has been saying this all along. He said you won’t find your life until you lose it, because it is in losing hold of it that you will find it in someone else.