Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois 

Welcome to the podcast More to Life with Faith and Lois.

 

Faith 

I’m Faith.

 

Lois 

And I’m Lois.

 

Faith 

Our podcast explores the things you face in life that inspire and daunt you.

 

Lois 

Well, a happy morning to you.

 

Faith 

Good morning, Lois. How are you doing?

 

Lois 

I am doing really well. Definitely in the throes of winter in the Denver Metro area, though.

 

Faith 

Oh, one snowstorm after another right.

 

Lois 

You know, we had such a great month, last month to really focus on generosity in relationships, your body spirituality and your craft. And by the way, if you missed any of those, do you have a podcast app you’re listening to us on right now. Go back and listen to some of those or go to our website, www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter, which we’d love for you to see. It gives you all the ideas of the things we’re coming up with. And we send you one a week and you get a podcast in your emails. So please sign up. So this month we get to explore all these facets of life through the lens of discernment.

 

Faith 

I love discernment. It really carries us further into life and a greater understanding not only of ourselves but of other people.

 

Lois 

So I can’t wait for this because we’re presenting to you Episode 114: What role does discernment play in your relationships? So Faith, How does discernment play itself out in the people with whom you interact?

 

Faith 

Well, because of what I do, I need to be very discerning, sitting with people in my office who come in with an issue or a problem or a conflict or a crisis in their life takes time to sit, listen, and to be kind and to really hear not only just their words, but what is going on underneath it. So the discernment comes with, I hear you and I wonder what else is behind it. So there’s a discernment level and being a counselor to work with people in that. And also, there’s that discernment about I’m doing my writing. And so the discernment is what really motivates me what really is pushing me forward and I discern that not just I need to write this. And so I’m listening to myself in another area of my life, and discernment that we use in our podcast. We’re very discerning about what’s the next thing we should speak about.

 

Lois 

We think about it, we talk with each other, we listen, and those are really important pieces. And, you know, with my background as a journalist, and as a life coach, so you and I are in such a similar path. discernment really is just a part of my life. I’ve always felt like I walked around with eyes in the back of my head. Maybe that’s also because I was a parent, and I am still a parent and a grandparent. But it is interesting because I do feel like I’m looking around trying to ascertain what is really happening. And so, just like you when I’m talking with somebody, I’m asking questions to find out There’s something underneath this, is there some bigger area you really want to explore? Or just listening for those key words where you go, Oh, that’s what you mean. And that’s discernment. That’s right. And I think it’s a gift when we can be discerning with our friends with our relationships with the people with whom we work, because then people know we’re paying attention to them.

 

Faith 

Yeah, it’s so respectful and it just creates a deeper bond, a connection that is woven together. We don’t have enough of that in our life right now.

 

Lois 

And we really know when we are with somebody who is not paying attention, because then we can basically say anything we want walk away and go well, they didn’t get it. So sadly, if you’re around faith or myself, we we try to get it anyway. And maybe that’s why some people don’t want to be around us but so there are a number of definitions for discernment. And as we explore its role in relationships. Here’s a really cool perspective. It’s the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure, to detect differences, to make distinctions, to realize truth.

 

Faith 

Hmm, I really like that. I really like that. Because we can sense it with a person. Are they speaking truth? Are they walking in truth? Do they seen something? Or are they kind of Is there a cover up going on? And sometimes they know that they’re doing it and sometimes they don’t. But if we’re really to enter into a deep relationship with a person, we need to be able to know Am I connecting? Are we connecting? This is our week together connecting at a place where it is safe, and where is clear and where it is truth.

 

Lois 

And that is so beautiful faith because it’s to our point here, this is positive. We’re looking to enhance to enrich our relationships that we’re not coming in with a you know, a sword trying to say no, no, no and saying this is true, this is not true. So just know as we’re exploring this together, The idea is to have deeper, richer relationships with everyone we’re around.

 

Faith 

It’s more intimate, it’s more fully. There’s a union that comes in a deep relationship, and we all ache for that we all want to be known. And the other person wants to be known and, and I think having a discernment of saying what is needed rather than what is wrong. We’re not talking about what is wrong. We’re talking about what is needed here. How do we enter into this?

 

Lois 

I love that. So to get the most out of our time today, we want to thank a couple of people, including Ann Jones, she has this great article called Discernment and Balance in Relationships and you can find that on www.annjones.org and also Judgment and Discernment in Relationships found on www.dharma.org. So what does it mean to use discernment as it impacts our relationships?

 

Faith 

Well, it isn’t about judgment, and you just mentioned that it’s like, we can easily put that meaning onto the sermon that we get and the opportunity to judge and it is not about judging. It’s about becoming aware, being insightful, being in tune in touch with what is going on and what is happening. It’s truly a gift to take the time to really go, what am I experiencing with this person? And what am I experiencing within myself?

 

Lois 

Because if we move into judgment, then we put the attention on that person and we decide a behavior or something about them is wrong or bad, we moralize, we do that again. Right? And instead of just this is who they are or what they’re doing, we then label it in some way. And discernment is really about us. It’s the attention is on us. are we listening? are we paying attention and that’s the the shift that I really like. And there was this example in dharma.org, that if you’re hanging around someone, and you’ve decided that what they’re doing is something you don’t like if that’s what you start focusing on what you what you don’t like then you start judging whatever behavior they’re doing. But instead, you’re realizing that because of that behavior, you don’t feel safe, or you don’t feel comfortable, or you feel that those words might be hurting someone else or hurting you. That’s where the discernment comes in. So then you get to make a choice. Do I say something? Do I want to repair a relationship? And do I need to breathe and step aside a little bit. But you can see the difference here is that you don’t judge that person for what they’re doing. But you look at the impact of what it’s doing to you, personally. And then you discern whether or not that’s a behavior that that you can tolerate and live with.

 

Faith 

Exactly, and back to the judgment for just a moment. It also is woven into our beliefs, and our convictions and our absolutes. And so if we have them within ourselves, then it is rather than discernment is, Hmm, well, this is what I believe or what I think or what I feel, but what else was going on and then You listen to the that other person, and you hear what else is there, and then there’s a discernment about what fits. And maybe there’s something from both sides, maybe there’s something in this relationship that this person actually has to offer you, rather than I don’t want to listen to you, because you don’t agree with me. And so then that distance comes in, in the relationship. And that’s not what we want. We want to be connected, really, to all people. If they’re hurtful, we set boundaries, that’s what good boundaries are for.

 

Lois 

We’re owning it. We’re owning, how we respond to whatever someone is doing or saying, rather than attacking what someone is doing or saying. I mean, there’s really a flip. And it’s so hard sometimes to kind of own so much, because then I don’t get to blame.

 

Faith 

I know, right? And if we own it, we’re going to find some things about ourselves that need transformation, and there’s a discernment that then comes out the flip side of that we’re having the relationship – is what needs to change within me.

 

Lois 

And as you do that another perspective and looking at discernment is keeping balance in your life when you discern that someone isn’t giving back. I mean, maybe after all of this, and the behavior, you explore and examine and you own as much as you can you still say, all right, this person is not going to be shifting and some of these behaviors, and it’s becoming more and more difficult. So what do I do with that? How do I keep balance without coming in and putting my hands on my hips and going, that’s it, you’re done. I’m not going to see you anymore. Especially if we’re not talking about a romantic relationship. How do you keep going. So here’s some ideas that have been offered. And one is to drop your level of expectation. Maybe this person is simply not going to be the type of friend you would thought he was for you.

 

Faith 

And that’s important to know when something is working well. And when it is time to move on. There’s nothing wrong with relationships changing and morphing. That’s good discernment to know when that happens.

 

Lois 

You know, and one of our very first podcasts about relationships, we distinguish between acquaintances, and BFFs and romantic relationships and family, you know, so you have all these different kinds of relationships. And sometimes someone has to move in your in the way you think of some What if they aren’t as close as you thought they were?

 

Faith 

They’re more of an acquaintance than a deep, deep friend. And sometimes our mindset is, we tend to establish what this relationships going to be before we really know. And then we get disappointed. Well, I thought you were going to be my best friend. And no, it was more of an acquaintance. And so I think that a discernment is also giving a time, what is happening, what is unfolding, and who is this person? How do we relate well to each other.

 

Lois 

And from there, you can then moderate what you are willing to share, or give or whatever you do with that other person that’s making you feel That it’s not coming back to you. And that’s okay. But it does then put it on us again, to moderate what we’re willing to put out there. Because if we keep giving what we were giving in the past, then all that happens is resentment.

 

Faith 

And the best way to do that is step back and take a deep breath, take that pause, take that moment, to just consider what is really happening and to weigh it and then move into how do I respond.

 

Lois 

And both you and I do a lot of writing when it comes to moments like that. And sometimes when I’m able to write down my feelings, it helps me even as I communicate, but also as the boundaries are then being put in place that I can remind myself of how I do feel when this happens. And remember –  I will feel that way. When this happens again,

 

Faith 

And it will again and again, because it’s never a one and done on any of this.

 

Lois 

Be kind to yourself, please and all of us. So discernment helps you understand how things are, rather than focusing on how things should be.

 

Faith 

Yeah, the whole should be thing is going to get you caught and trapped and make your miserable. Discernment is giving space and time it’s fluid. It ebbs and flows and you want to take the time to just reflect and to weigh it within yourself. What’s happening here. What does this relationship mean to me? we rush into things too quickly. And part of if you find yourself rushing into relationships, friendships, romantic relationships, relationships with family members, and wanting something – that’s usually something within yourself, so use that as a discernment of, I’m craving something, what is it? Discern within yourself and get that need met in a healthy way.

 

Lois 

And as you do what Faith is suggesting there, you’re practicing discernment. Yeah. And the more you practice it, the more things will bubble up. In your relationships, where you’ll say, Oh, that is beautiful, or Oh, that doesn’t work so well. And you’ll realize there’s no judgment you’re making about it, you’re just stating a fact. Right? Then you get to decide, is this important enough for me to keep going at the level I’m going? Or do I need to make a couple of shifts here?

 

Faith 

And to recognize that most people shut off or cut off or minimize their intuition? and intuition is are some of the threads that move into healthy discernment? And so don’t minimize what you into it. If you Intuit something like you know, you mentioned before a dangerous situation, listen to it, don’t ignore it. And what do you need to do about it? What’s the action you need to take around it? to set a boundary to set some limits? At the same time? If you’re unsure, you listen to that and you get more information. And then if you have a real sense of freedom, like I really am drawn to this person, still be discerning. Why are you drawn to them.

 

Lois 

And we’ll help you find out. Because one of the other ways you can really work on discovering what discernment means is to listen to experts and search for truth. Because in that level, you will really practice discernment. So if there’s an area that you’re really confused about, and you really do need to talk to someone who’s maybe not an expert in that field, but an expert in communication and helping you get your arms around something, do that, because that helps the exploration process that allows you to arrive where you want to arrive with that person, especially if you’re stuck.

 

Faith 

Absolutely, yes. I mean, I’m working with a client right now and have worked with many clients over the years that are really drawn to narcissistic men relationships. It’s an addiction, they’re just drawn to it and drawn to and they think it’s love and they think it’s wonderful, and then they get hurt time and time and time again. And so the discernment is stopping and reflecting of why am I drawn there. You have to go to deeper, what is this draw that I go into this where I get hurt?

 

Lois 

And the truth is we don’t all possess all knowledge we don’t. And so the more we’re willing to ask and to work with somebody on these areas, the better off we are to keep growing. And one of the things faith and I love doing, especially in this podcast, and otherwise is we just keep learning. And we learn new things all the time, because that’s how we realize there is so much more. But it’s because we don’t have all the information just ourselves. So it’s always great when you can say, Yeah, I know that. But sometimes check yourself, do you? Is there something more you could learn?

 

Faith 

Yes, there’s always room for growth and development. And we both do that. We both are just seekers of what more can I develop within myself and to grow into mature if we stopped doing that? We’re going to get stuck.

 

Lois 

So we keep encouraging you and also as you’re discerning pay attention to your words and your actions. And we were talking before about what we’re hoping, as we describe discernment and relationships is that they go deeper, that you have more connectedness, we’re not looking at ways to separate the words that you use. Are they healing words? Are they words of kindness? Are they words of trying to understand someone? Or are you setting a trap? Yeah. And we all know the difference.

 

Faith 

We do? I think we do. Yes, we do.

 

Lois 

We know when someone is setting a trap for us.

 

Faith 

We absolutely do, We absolutely do. And that is the discernment of, of knowing how to handle it and handle it well. And if it’s an important relationship, you are going to handle it with respect, with kindness with listening and having a conversation about it. And so that’s entering into it. If it’s an unhealthy relationship, then you’re going to make a different decision and probably begin to set more boundaries. Maybe step back a bit.

 

Lois 

And follow through with your words. If you say something, do what you say. I mean, one of the few things, especially as you’re getting to know someone, the only thing people can hang on to is if you commit to doing something, if you keep backing out of promises or agreements that you make, you will soon get known for that. And your relationships will be ones where no one expects, I mean, if you she’s not going to show up, she’s not going to do XYZ. So if you say something, follow through, because that will help on your discernment level, because the only thing you do by not following through is help other people discern exactly who you are.

 

Faith 

We do have a lot of input into how we will be discerned in life. So take that and live it out.

 

Lois 

Yes, use your wisdom to help others one of the beautiful parts of discernment is, it is a piece of wisdom. When we know that we’re listening and we’re wanting to get to the bottom of things that’s using wisdom. That’s using some that sometimes we put on the shelf.

 

Faith 

Yes. And there’s usually that deep spill small little voice inside that is speaking within us. Don’t do this or, oh, caution, be careful. Use your words wisely. You know, the little things. But if, if we really will attune ourselves to that. That’s where the wisdom will come from. Because we’re already discerning at a deeper level, and sometimes we ignore it. And we just barge in anyway. And then we grab it later. And we’ve all had those experiences. We’ve all done that. But that’s part I think, of the developing discernment in relationships is to listen, what really needs to be done here. And what is the right word to say here.

 

Lois 

And as we talk about wisdom, we also are happy to be sharing with you some of the insights we’re getting because as you start getting these nuggets of wisdom, please share them. I mean, these aren’t you don’t Keep them to yourself as secrets, this is the way to interact in a more whole and beautiful way. And as we’re talking about relationships with the goal being to deepen and to fortify and to know someone, wow, let people know how you got to that place. Exactly.

 

Faith 

And discernment is a gift, and a gift that’s been given to each and every one of us. But it needs to be developed, it isn’t something that we just have, and then it’s just like, automatically push the button and it’s there. We need to listen, we need to nurture it, we need to develop it, as you just mentioned, and we need to use it often in that’s developing that more and more and to let it expand, and to grow and to understand ourselves and other people more. And the more we understand and the more that we experience and the more that we bring in how we want to be known back to identity always and how we want to know the other person, which is their identity, their true identity, not their behaviors. Now you’re moving into a place where discernment can really flourish.

 

Lois 

And this is the piece about having that attention versus having the judgment, because how will you get to know someone’s identity, where they’re coming from? If all we’re looking at is a behavior to say up, I can’t be with you anymore. I can’t talk to you anymore. I can’t sit with you anymore. Versus where’s that coming from? How can we work together in maybe keeping an acquaintance but you know, keeping up some kind of camaraderie, and that comes from paying attention. And if we’re not paying attention and listening to our own personal intuition as we relate to somebody, then a relationship could be lost. That didn’t have to be the idea of building up relationships and knowing discernment and relationships so that we can be stronger individuals and stronger with the people we relate to.

 

Faith 

As you take steps to thrive and improve your relationships. Use this gift of discernment to know how to manage beautiful and changing connections.

 

Lois 

When you focus on how you’re impacted in a relationship and decide to play back or offer your thoughts, you’re able to move forward without declaring someone good or bad.

 

Faith 

Practice ways you might listen to those around you to better know what’s in their hearts and what’s in their minds.

 

Lois 

And join us next week as we wonder, How do you discern what’s best for your body?

 

Faith 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter on our website and subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen.

 

Lois 

No matter what you face in relationships, your body, spirituality or your craft.

 

Faith 

We are here to assure you there is always more to life.

 

Lois 

We’ll be back next week.