Getting Beyond The Weather
Have you ever had one of those conversations where, no matter what questions you ask, the conversation never went past, “Hey, how are you? How’s the weather?”
My relationship with my father had been that way for as long as I could remember. Conversations rarely got beyond the superficial formalities. Everything was always just ok and the conversations usually lasted five minutes. I longed for a deeper connection with him. I wanted him to open up to me and let me know what was really going on in his life. In the past I had occasionally had conversations that went beyond the weather but it was rare.
Then recently I had a conversation with him that lasted 45 minutes and ended with him saying he felt very satisfied and fulfilled with it. You can imagine how I felt. Totally elated! I wanted every conversation to be like that. I asked myself, what was different in that conversation and the few in the past that took it to a deeper level??
I discovered the secret to getting beyond the superficial conversation about the weather. Would you like to know what it was?
The first element is a committed level of focus. When we first check to see if a person is in the middle of something, we can schedule an appropriate time to call facilitating their ability to pay attention and relax into a deeper conversation. So, first check in to make sure they can give you their full focus and attention.
Now to the secret weapon I discovered: The secret is a willingness to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is peeling back the layers and opening yourself up completely to another without worrying about what they will think of you (their judgments). So it had to do with me taking the plunge of being vulnerable and not expecting my father to open up.
In your relationship with your kids, do your kids ask you what’s going on in your life or do they ask you to support their needs? My guess is that more often than not, they ask you to help them. It is natural for parents to support the needs of their children.
In my relationship with my father I learned to step back into the role of being a child. I had not been allowing him to be the parent, to support me. Everything was always okay or great with me.
There was no space for my father to enter in.In many of our relationships our conversations remain superficial because we are only attempting to dig into the other person’s life and to solve their problems instead of opening up and sharing the struggles we’re having. As I was able to open my heart to my dad and share with him the challenges I was having instead of trying to fix and change him, he could easily step into the role of the parent. I finally allowed him the space to be my father. From that place, he was then able to feel comfortable enough to open up and share his life with me.
To get beyond those superficial conversations, allow yourself to be vulnerable. Take the dive into your heart and open up. When we share from our heart, rather than our head there is a lot more juice and others can more easily relate to our real feelings, as they also have probably experienced similar challenges.
P.S. I tested it again last night, and after overcoming the initial resistance to opening myself up I had an amazing “One and a half-hour” conversation with my father.