JOYkwondo Exercise #28: Being Known and Understood

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

– Timothy Keller

joykwondo Exercise

Your training exercise is to conduct an interview with someone. There’s no better way to make someone feel more known and understood than to sit down and ask them questions directly. Choose a person you’d like to strengthen your relationship with, or maybe even choose someone you know doesn’t get socialized with much. Keep in mind: this exercise is guaranteed to create or deepen a friendship with the interviewee, so be ready for that.

When you have a moment for some good one-on-one time with the person you’ve chosen, start asking them the questions from your joy journal. The joy journal questions are perfect for these conversations because they’re open-ended, and there’s no right or wrong answer. They invite vulnerability without inviting judgment. They’re safe and light-hearted. There’s no need to write down the interviewee’s answers while they talk; just listen. Don’t interrupt them to talk about yourself!! Be fully present and attentive, taking in all the new things that you’re discovering about this person.

When they’re done, be ready for them to ask you the same questions. Chances are, now that they’ve opened up to you, they’ll expect you to open up as well. Be real and vulnerable. At the end of the conversation, you’ll both be all smiles, and you’ll probably discover some things you have in common. And then you can plan a future get together that you know will bring you both joy, and you’ll create a wonderful memory!

WARNING: this interview exercise can be addictive, and you may experience the urge to conduct more of these interviews on the regular. As a result, you may develop an addiction to cultivating relationships and developing close bonds with others. It may lead to creating happy memories and general satisfaction in life. You’ve been warned.

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