Reflecting on the humility of conversations

How we attend to ourselves and the others in an exchange probably determines whether it is worthy of being called a conversation.

Recently, John Kuzava helpfully mused on the root of the word from the Latin ‘conversatio’, which means ‘to turn about with’ or ‘to change together’.

So metaphorically standing with our arms crossed, waiting to say our piece or put the other right, doesn’t pass for a conversation.

Instead, choosing to be present and bring ourselves and our listening capacity fully into the space necessitates the possibility of change.

If we are not prepared to be affected by the exchange, contributing to and being impacted by it, then let’s not pretend it’s a conversation.

And this humility is two way. Not only in seeing and hearing the others but also in not belittling or dismissing what we have to contribute.

We have much to recover and learn in our conversations, including space for silence and laughter. And for the courage to sit with the questions and struggle with the words.

Because conversations are an act of co-creation, no one person is in control.