One of the toughest questions to ask others…

Maybe the toughest question to ask someone, in the words of writer Ken Sande, is …

“How did you experience me?”

Here’s what I think this question is saying:

“I’m a human.  I’m practicing being transparent and vulnerable.  I fear I may really have blown a few things when we talked.  Please tell me how I made you feel and what you were thinking about as we talked.  I really want to know.”

Well, first of all, do you really want to know?

It takes courage to open yourself to being this vulnerable.  It takes trust.  It takes having thick skin.  It takes humility and self-control to accept honest feedback without getting defensive or angry.

And yet, if you want to grow in both self-awareness (the ability to honestly discern your own emotions — both your strengths and your weaknesses) and other-awareness (the ability to understand and empathize with the emotions of others toward you), one of the best questions you can ask others is:

“How did you experience me?”

But is so doggone hard to open ourselves to this kind of feedback.  We’re afraid of it.  We know how we might react, even toward those who we know love us and have our best interests in mind.  

Maybe we should say it the way writer Sande suggests: “Please take some time to think about this; I’d really value your honest feedback, and will get back to you in a few days to see what you’d like to share with me.” 

Is that easier?  But then, you have to be sure to get back to them!

What do you think?

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