If we want to be understood, we must first seek to understand. Communication is one of the most important aspects of human existence. But, how can we effectively communicate our thoughts to another, to someone who may not understand us because of our lack of skill in telling our stories? Step Eight reinforces our need to be understood and to understand when the Step uses the expression, “even if it [our words and actions] was well-intended.”
We understand that religious extremist, and even those who are only moderately extreme, mean well. Their actions and words carry with them good intentions. Many hope to “save” us from eternal damnation. If they could convey their message with more love and without judgment, we would be more receptive. Effective communication involves understanding the one we want to communicate with as much as it involves our message.
When we are able to see the motive behind the message, we can often overlook the delivery and the messenger when their approach is abrasive. We can forgive and let go. We don’t have to accept them or their message if it doesn’t resonate with us, but if we can determine their intentions were good, we can let go of hurt and avoid confrontation. It’s not always easy, but with patience and experience, we can know when to speak, when to listen, and when to walk away.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.