When We Talk, We Listen: The Power of Speech in Mentoring
Recently a friend gave me a copy of one of her old magazines. It is not a magazine I usually read.
Well, if I’m being honest, I usually don’t read magazines, so that is nothing new.
But there was one article in the magazine that I liked, and so she offered me the option of taking it with me.
Once I got home, the novelty of having an actual magazine in the house got the better of me, and I sat down to thumb through it and stumbled upon some insightful advice about how we talk to ourselves.
In particular, the writer mentioned how, when we reject a compliment, make a self-deprecating comment, or refuse to own up to our own expertise or insight in a certain area, we both lead ourselves to water and we make ourselves drink.
Whether we want to or not.
When we force ourselves to reject a compliment, play down an accomplishment, or hide a contribution we might otherwise make, we teach ourselves about who we are, who we are not, and who we can never be.
On this subject, recently I watched a wonderful new movie called “Mao’s Last Dancer.”
In this movie, ballet superstar Li Cunxin’s childhood is depicted, showing the young boy being taken from his family and transported from his small village to the capital city of Beijing, China, where he is forced to learn ballet along with a host of other similarly selected young athletes.
The teacher, misunderstanding Li’s strengths as weaknesses, continually hurls insults at him, singling him out in front of all his classmates, including the girl he likes. As Li gets older, in time he gets stronger, and one day he stands up, confronts the teacher, and tells him to stop.
Watching that scene made me stop. And think. And reconsider how I stand up for myself, or don’t, whether the situation or relationship is welcoming to such a self-supportive perspective or not.
How we talk to ourselves matters. How we talk about ourselves matters. How we allow others to talk about us matters.
Whether we think we are listening or not, we are taking it all in – every kind, or unkind, or unspoken word.
Today’s Takeaway: How would your daily experience of living as you, within you, change if you gave yourself permission to say “thank you!” to compliments, speak up when you could contribute, and own up to your accomplishments? How would your satisfaction with being you change if you could find your voice in the face of others’ criticism, and stick up for yourself the way you might stick up for a friend or family member?
Cutts, S. (2011). When We Talk, We Listen: The Power of Speech in Mentoring. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2011/07/when-we-talk-we-listen/