Last week someone I trust told me that the reason people come to vent and process their thoughts and feelings with me is because they trust me and that they want my advice. The blind spot they pointed out to me was that I am too quick to give advice. At times this overwhelms or makes people feel as if I am acting in an arrogant way. When I replied that most of the time people do actually ask me for my opinion, he challenged me to listen more closely to their need(s). This includes not only their words, but their intent. In reflecting on this I realize that while they may eventually want my ideas and input, I am way too pushy and need to back off and be more patient. This is hard for me. Really hard. This person suggested that When someone comes to me, I listen generously the first round of conversation and then give it some time. Let the person share and then process. At a later time I can approach the person and revisit the topic. I can then ask if they are looking for ideas. After learning this a few days ago I realized this is extremely important work for me to do.
Then today I once again spoke too soon. It happened yesterday as well. I feel like I am making a bit of progress, but it is one step at a time. I am gaining awareness but am not yet able to exercise the self-control. That is hard. Really hard. But it is important for me to learn. Really important.