Reality Check (a communication tool)
SUPER HELPFUL COMMUNICATION TOOL!!!!
THE REALITY CHECK
A Reality Check is a communication tool that helps you get curious about your upset with another person without immediately projecting fault onto them.
You know how our minds thinks they know what the other person is thinking?
How it interrupts events based on its own confusion... and acts like these imagined perceptions are the ULTIMATE TRUTH? How many times have you gotten a look from someone or heard a tone in their voice and decided that you know exactly what they're up to??? AND THEN....!!!! you make decisions about what to do next... without even asking the other person what was going on for them!!!!!!!
This can lead to so much pain and misunderstanding!!!
What works for me when I am confused by someone's actions is.... doing a Reality Check.
A Reality Check goes something like this.
Jane says..."When I asked you to come over tonight Sally... I heard a tone in your voice that brought up anxiety in me. I interpreted that tone to mean you don't really want to come over. I immediately felt unwanted and embarrassed and also angry that you would come over when you don't really want to. This is what I was imagining was happening. What was happening for you? I want to know your real feelings. I am here to LISTEN"
And then you just listen. And you will probably find out your interpretation... while it may have contained some truth... wasn't the whole story... and it CERTAINLY DID NOT CONNECT YOU to the other person...(which presumably is the goal of the relationship.)
Saying "can I do a Reality Check with you" is helpful for two reasons
1. it admits to the fact that you do not know what is going on. You are not God... you cannot possibly know what is going on in this other person's inner World. Asking to do a reality check admits that. It displays HUMILITY, OPENNESS and TRUST.
2. it opens you up to the world of the other. Reality Checks give the other person space to tell you what was going on for them at that exact moment of the upset. It displays your desire to care for both you and the other. It displays CONNECTION.
So in this scenario Sally may have replied to Jane with some thing like
" oh yeah... my tone did change when you asked about hanging out tonight Jane... and that's because I do feel a lot of anxiety about going to visit you. But it's not because I don't want to see you. It's because I've been procrastinating on my workload. And I realized that... when we talked about getting together.... I'm sorry if I put that on you. As soon as we got off the phone I realized I do have space to get my work done and I can come over and visit you but it might have to be a short visit. Is that ok with you? And thank you for communicating with me like this...I feel so heard and cared for!"
What could have happened if Jane didn't Reality Check before Sally came over? Jane could have stored a lot of anger...anger that possibly has been brewing for a long time... connected with their past relationship upsets. "Sally always does this! I don't even know why I am friends with her. She's only been here an hour and she's already looking at her watch!"
Jane might have exploded at Sally or kept it all in and decided (when Sally left early) that the friendship wasn't worth it....
Anyway...this above scenario is made up but the general idea is not... Do your relationships a solid and before you jump to conclusions about what the other is thinking and feeling...
it goes like this
1. "MAY I DO A REALITY CHECK WITH YOU?"
2. "I AM FEELING______________ (GUILTY/ASHAMED/CONFUSED/HURT ETC)" (make sure you say a feeling...cause feelings connect you to the other person's heart)
3. "I AM IMAGINING THIS FEELING TO MEAN THAT THIS_________________ IS HAPPENING..."
4. "WHATS GOING ON FOR YOU?"
5. THEN JUST LISTEN...while they reality check right back