Monday brings the beginning of another week. Today I was inundated by the universe to focus on understand what communication is. Not only for myself but from almost every person I talked with there was this same underlying theme. So, what does communication mean to me?
Well they say communication is key. I have always wondered what does that key open? I used to think it was a better understanding, but as I have grown older I am beginning to understand that this key opens new perspective. It is a path to leave judgements behind to truly know what is happening behind the door instead of guessing. Our minds are tricky bastards that will make up a multitude of scenarios based off of previous information. The problem with this is every new experience comes with a new set of variables that have not existed before. Even if one minute detail is slightly different the outcome may or may not be the same.
This makes me think about video games. Old arcade games were littered with patterns that players could try and try over and over until they knew exactly which barrel was going to fall in which spot based on experience. The more chances you had to learn these patterns the better chances you had to advance to the next level and ultimately win the game. This basic training within our brains of a gamer has two sides to it the way I look at it.
For one, it has instilled a sense of not giving up. Eventually you would begin to understand where not to stand and when to jump. The flip side to this though, is an innate sense that you can predict the patterns.
Taking this ideal into the life we live around us and contemplating on what communication is, I can see the same sort of ideals within what I have experienced in life. There are some definite patterns as to how I have changed the way I communicate over time. In general I have learned from my youth that there are certain ways I used to communicate that just never got me anywhere and then I have had to change. It has allowed me to be more open to not playing into my own judgements and assumptions of a situation. This is not a one time change mind you. Instead it is constantly something I have to remind myself and work on.
On another side when it comes to certain circumstances I have had to learn with each person in my life there is a different way to communicate. Since my own definition is not the end all be all, I have found that a big part of communicating effectively is listening to someone else. There are always cues that people use when they talk about how they may not feel they are being heard and sometimes they will flat out say it. The trick is to get the key to open the door. Once that door is open both sides can begin to talk openly to what they are truly saying to one another.
My number one piece of advice when it comes to communication is very simple. I always start by asking how someone is. I have no intention of offering how I am and instead I sit openly intaking whatever they are willing to offer. Following that up with a question of how they are feeling now usually will break at least one barrier so they may feel a little more at ease to opening up. People are very apt to just say, “I’m good,” or, “I’m fine.” There’s no context because they are just waiting for the other person to go, “ok cool so here’s what’s going on with me.” Instead try asking follow up questions to lead to a more open conversation.
The final piece of what I took away from today in my understanding of communication was to be true to your own intentions. It is not easy to understand sometimes where we may come from and why we are feeling hurt or overwhelmed. When we realize everything starts within us and we have the power to dispel all insecurities, judgements and feelings that may not be serving us, then we begin to take everyone one else out of our life. This is a really good thing. It can help to give us perspective on what we bring to the table and allow us to not react when someone else may be lashing out.
I’m not saying that someone shouldn’t stand up for themselves but instead to find where their own feelings are coming from first so when they approach an uncomfortable situation from feeling hurt that they can have compassion for whoever has hurt them.
It is a lot to think about and as I am writing this I am still gathering my thoughts. For now I just feel that in the times we live in people could stand to work on their communication with one another from a true place of compassion to oneself first so that our conversations can be more truthful instead of blaming.
I am doing the best I can with the tools I have today. Whatever doesn’t work is an opportunity for me to learn more tools to try again tomorrow.