‘Tis the season of joy, generosity, and spending quality time with the people you love… but we all know sometimes, it can be a bit much.
Political discussions heaped with sarcasm at the dinner table. Petty squabbles with siblings. Misunderstandings, old rivalries surfacing, and points getting completely lost in translation. These are the less lovely aspects of the holidays.
So this week, I’d like to revisit a post from the early days of Tenderlogic. I’m sharing it with you again because, especially at this time of year, it’s important to remember there are better ways to share and communicate – ways that don’t involve frustrated sighs, snorts, and slammed doors.
Singing yourself into a better place
For some reason, since my son was born, I’ve found myself bursting out with lyrics from songs or nursery rhymes that I don’t remember learning. My most recent outburst was “Anything you can do I can do better” from Annie Get Your Gun. The classic show tune is a playful duet between the two star-crossed protagonists, Annie and Frank. They boast about their accomplishments, and attempt to outdo one another with their singing talents.
(Give it a listen! The link is below.)
I love this song, especially because I can identify with Annie’s competitiveness and sass when I’m discussing/debating/arguing with my husband (and sometimes a few other lucky souls). But I must admit – I usually don’t have as much fun as Frank and Annie seem to be having.
We can learn about our own arguing habits by watching these two belt out their claims. If you look closely, you’ll notice each of them waits for the other to say their line. They make their points clearly and succinctly (usually in one or two sentences), and allow for lulls and pauses. It’s an exchange – a dance. When was the last time you left space for silence in a confrontation?
I think if I incorporated the singing aspect into my own ‘spirited debates’, the outcome could be better. Imagine how different business meetings, debates, and arguments would be if we sang and danced what we were attempting to communicate. Remember: when we converse and interact, our entire body shares a dialogue all its own. Would we be able to express more with a tune and free body movement?
Think back to a recent debate you found yourself in. What would have been clearer if you’d been able to illustrate your point in a musical fashion? While bursting into song in the middle of an argument may seem a bit odd, it doesn’t hurt to think along those guidelines.
Here’s an exercise for you. Next time you’re in a meeting, discussion or argument think along the lines of a song in a musical:
- Express yourself – what would your song be? A melancholy aria? A joyful chorus? A head-banging rock n’ roll anthem? A whiny violin?
- Simplify your speech – e.g “I hear you” or “What can we do to make it better?” or “I am not happy with this situation but I am ready to turn it around”
- If you feel yourself bristling, take a few deep breaths and relax your body as best you can. Tensing your muscles only creates more discomfort.
- Put mean-spiritedness aside – being reactive or petty does not create solutions
- Listen. Truly.
- Wait for your turn – give yourself some time to consider what the other is saying before responding.
- Allow for the interludes – silence can be great. New solutions can be found as we contemplate what has been said
So, have a listen to the song by clicking below…
and the next time you’re doing a round in the ring with your husband, child or business partner, remember: you can sing yourselves into a better space.
As we move into 2013 and the next journey ‘round the sun for Tenderlogic, I wish you the fluidity of love, patience, and abundance.