Listening to the echo

Not everyone knows the echo rule. It is extremely useful in explaining the carousel of “seesawing” in our relationships with others. To put it very simply, it comes to warn us that “interpersonal relationships work like the echo: they return what is sent out”. We will understand this better with examples.

Just as the mountains and peaks return the acoustic waves of the shout emitted, so, with small differences, others reflect back to us the way we treat them. If we put on a cheerful face, we meet cheerful faces; if we help others, we end up receiving help; if we greet affectionately, we will receive the same; if we welcome, we are welcomed; and so on.

This law is neither a wish nor a piece of advice. It is a rule that is infallibly fulfilled, as experts in psychology confirm. It is also valid in its negative enunciation in such a way that it can serve as an examination of conscience: if we find serious faces when we pass by, is it not because our own is serious; if it hurts us so much that our friends forget us, is it not because we forget them; if they do not understand us, is it not because we are too rigid; if they do not speak to us, is it because we frighten others…?

In personal dealings, each one finds what he puts in himself. Or to put it in the words of St. Paul: “What each one sows, that shall he reap” (Gal 6,7). St. John of the Cross goes deeper: where there is no love and suffering, you can do one of two things: either complain or put love. If you opt for the former, you poison yourself; if you opt for the latter… convince yourself that “where there is no love, put love and you will find love“.

We are lynxes to see what others fail to give us and in our innermost being, we are filled with criticism and complaint… But does it not occur to us that what we do not give them, we do not give them? By what logic do we dare to expect what we have not given ourselves? Are we fair when we expect and demand from others what we have never given them?

In the perspective of this law of the echo, we can see that there are four verbs that are at the origin of most of our problems of living together (marital, family, community, parish…). They are four poisoned verbs:

  • Wait
  • Demand
  • Complain
  • Criticise

In the face of these four verbs of the misfortune of living together, there is only one verb that contains the secret of good relations: ADVANCE. In this case, psychology and the gospel agree on the same thing: The essence of love is to go ahead. He who sows love will never fear what he reaps.


Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: Drew Saurus)



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