דיברתי / שמעתי
Dibarti. Shemati. I have spoken. I have heard.
I am finding these two Hebrew words to be an incredibly powerful tool right now. When I lead listening and healing circles, we speak these words as part of the group process.
Finding safe spaces to express the contents of our hearts and souls, and offering respectful listening, are vitally important during these perilous times. We are in the middle of unprecedented trauma and distress. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has turned our world upside down. Sturdy footholds of empathy and safety are often elusive, missing. Communicating with others is challenging. Misunderstanding is rampant. Trigger-ability is inevitable.
We are all hurting and afraid. Likely there is so much we want to say, so much we need to share. And, because others are hurting and afraid, it may be difficult to feel heard, understood. Perhaps we are guilty of not listening well, of feeling defensive and desperately needing to validate our point of view. Creating safe environments to share and dialogue are key right now. These two simple words can help.
Dibarti. I have spoken. I am finished sharing what I need to say. I have offered my piece. I have expressed myself. I am complete. Thank you for giving me the space to share.
Shemati. I have heard. Your message was received. I have listened to you speak your piece. What you expressed registered. Roger that. Thank you for sharing.
During difficult conversations it is very impactful to give someone room to share all that they need to say, without interruption or response. It’s worth repeating . . . without interruption or response. And when complete, the speaker signals they are finished. Dibarti. I have spoken.
As difficult as it can be, something incredibly powerful happens when we refrain from a counter response, a reaction, an interjection.
Then, a moment of silence followed by a deep acknowledgement of being heard. Shemati.
A softening around the edges happens.
And still no response, no cross talk. Whoever is next to express their truth (not their reply or feedback to the previous speaker), emerges and shares .
We can’t solve the conflict on the other side of the world through heated (sometimes toxic) debate and analysis on social media or around the dinner table. But we can create safety zones of giving and receiving. Offering and acknowledging, even when we don’t agree.
While all this may sound overly simplistic or trite, it definitely can’t hurt. And, these tools may not be appropriate all the time. There are definitely moments when standing up boldly and speaking out, in response to a remark or an opinion, is needed. At the same time, let’s not underestimate the power of deep listening. For when we feel heard (different than agreement, an important distinction), healing happens--and that’s definitely what the world needs more of right now. We can make that happen, one conversation at a time.