Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

If We Could Hear Ourselves… 

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At a recent department retreat, a colleague asked us all to (using Nearpod) contribute a word that reminded us of each other person in our team. The name of a person is displayed on the screen, and each of us contributes a word. It was originally meant to be professional, one word that the person says frequently. It ended up that many of us contributed a fun phrase that person said frequently. We had loads of laughs. It was so interesting to see how people remember particular things about others…which phrases or statements they choose. Sometimes people would let someone notice they said something a lot that they didn’t actually realize they said a lot. Some were more obvious. 

Anyway. It made me think of a different thing. If we only heard ourselves saying certain things, we might be more careful not to say them. It’s not something that came out of the game above, but I imagine if u could play it anonymously with someone you wanna give critical feedback to, it could be really powerful.

Sometimes someone says something, and I wanna tell them, “Can you even hear yourself talking? Do you realize what you just said? Could you tolerate someone else telling YOU that?”

And, you know, the same applies to me. I wonder if there are things I say that I don’t realize are hurtful or worse. I think it’s hard to imagine unless someone tells us in our face.

I also want to note that in some situations, a person would not be upset to hear certain things said to them, but need to understand the impact on others is different from impact on themselves, whether because of differences in power or different personalities. 

That’s all I wanted to say…

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