I posted earlier about using the word 'I'. I challenged readers not to use the word for a day. Did anyone notice the irony in this? Here I am, writing a blog about myself and my experiences from my perspectives and I asked people to consider how much they think of themselves. I know I'm a hypocrite, but I wanted to prove a point and the comments I received hit right on it.
First, Roadrage commented that he couldn't write about his opinions without using 'I', so he postponed starting the experiment until he finished the post. He then talked about the need to belong. As we are talking to people we are often thinking of what we want to say to contribute. I think that is our desire to 'fit in'. If I can relate my experiences to those of another, that means that I'm not nearly as weird as I think I am. I have an experience similar enough to the person I'm talking to that I can contribute. I want that person to know about my similarities so they don't think I'm as weird as I think I am.
Then the other comment was from Heather who hit the nail on the head. She forgot about it most of the day (as did I), then when she was thinking about it, she noticed that as someone was talking with her, she wasn't thinking of what the person was saying, she was thinking of what she ('I') was going to say in response. I know I do that a lot and based on the conversations I have with people I am pretty sure that people are more interested in relating themselves to the conversation then 'hearing' what is being said.
I think this is an interesting situation because I think one of the best ways to 'fit in' and really build meaningful relationships is to truly listen and understand people, but in reality people tend to want to 'appear' to belong by commenting about themselves. I would venture to guess that the more we resist using 'I' in conversations, the better relationships we can build. Of course that goes with the idea that you really can't have a meaningful two way conversation without using the word 'I', but if you really want to belong and feel powerful relationships it happens as we focus on others and not ourselves.
I wonder why I didn't get a degree in psychology, I like this sort of stuff... Maybe I could start over.