The phone rings and I pick it up.
The caller is a person I have a lot of history with, most of it is not great history. Most of our calls are not "fun" Yet, we have them often.
But, I did pick up.
I regretted it pretty quickly, as familiar words began coming thru the phone, and I began inching it farther from my ear. It was blame, blaming the world, and everyone but self. My back got stiff, and I zoned out.
I was already caught in a pattern I don't like.
It came to me that this person was upset, and was reaching out the only way that worked in their experience. It was a person who was hurting.
I read recently, that the best listening words are "I understand" So, I said it.
"I understand... that must be rough"
I'm amazed and grateful that it changed it all.
Because, first it was true. it was a rough situation to deal with, and I wasn't admitting that before because I didn't want to jump into this loop we always got in. I had been unsure of anything I could say, that would not drag me further in, or begin an argument. So the person was alone on one end of the phone, letting it out, and i was a wall.
Until I said I understand. I don't have to understand or agree with everything. I can understand that some things are emotionally rough.
Now on the other end of the line, is a person who is not alone, and feels better, and can calm down.. can see solutions.. hear solutioins with a calmer, clearer head.
I leave the phone, not angry, which is uncommon. I leave the phone wiser than I was when I answered. I understand!