Why is communicating so difficult? I’m talking about the spoken communication between human beings. Why is it so hard? Talking is one of the first, basic things we learn to do as youngsters… we eat, sleep, poop, crawl, learn to talk. In my case, I learned to talk before I could crawl. Well, I had to wear a hip/leg brace for a while, so I was forced into being immobile, and apparently I hated it and made sure everyone knew of my displeasure. See? I was communicating. There are a bazillion books about relationships and communicating, but it still seems like a difficult task for people to grasp.
This morning was a perfect example of miscommunication, but the difference this time was… *dun dun dunnn*… I was AWARE. I was aware that I was entering into an oft repeated and yet unresolved emotional spin around a familiar issue. In the past, I’ve stumbled bewilderingly through the misty forest, (like Pooh, Piglet, and Rabbit), until I happen upon “the very same sand pit” again and again… the same people talking about the same problem, but not really listening or solving anything. Words are said, assumptions are made, shit gets taken personally, and fear wins. Again. (*sigh*)
“Hey, let’s get the band back together in a few months for a repeat performance. Yeah!”
I. Will. Not. Do. This. Again.
I made a choice to respond differently than I have before. Mostly, we humans walk around reacting to everything… we experience hysterical outbursts because we’ve taken something personally or made an assumption about something… everything we feel, think, or do is fueled by our emotions. With our awareness online, however, we can chose how we are going to respond in any situation. There is always a choice. Always.
I chose to ask for clarification about the situation. Instead of assuming I knew what it was about and what the other person meant by his words, I asked him to explain what his intent was, because in the ears of my emotionally reactive heart, he was saying I was a failure and a disappointment. Now, I could have stayed there, spinning around and around all day, beating myself up and feeling like garbage, but I chose to respond differently. (Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally, Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions.)
Besides, I know that I’m not a failure or a disappointment to myself, and my own beliefs about myself are the only ones that really matter, so it was easier to acknowledge the bad feelings, let them go, and reaffirm the truth I know about myself instead of getting worked-up over a small miscommunication. I asked him to explain his intent, and then I actively listened to him while he spoke. Did you catch that?… Actively listened… I wasn’t spacing-out, thinking of my next argument. I wasn’t formulating my rebuttal. I told my mind to shut-the-frick-up so I could hear the heart behind the words.
Turns out, he just stinks at writing love notes. HA!
I overcame one of my fears… Which fear? Well, the fear of maybe hearing something I don’t want to hear, like someone I love affirming my own harsh judgments about myself? When has that EVER happened, by the way? In a mutually loving relationship, when has the other person actually agreed with your mental bully? Probably never, so that fear isn’t hard to overcome, it just feeeels hard.
(Side note: If you are in a relationship, (whether romantic, friendship, familial, whatever), and the other person actually does say shitty things to you… leave. You are a human being, deserving of joy, made to love and be loved! Do not let people use you as their emotional punching bag. Seriously. You are far too awesome to put up with that kind of crap. Research ways to establish healthy boundaries, communicate them in a kind and compassionate way, and then honor them. Enforcing healthy boundaries does not make you a mean, unforgiving person. It makes you a smart person… you are showing love for yourself by taking healthy action, and self-love is very important.)
Fear is just a smoke screen… it seems unpassable, but once you take a step through it, it evaporates and you feel like you can conquer anything. You can do hard things! Especially the things that only seem hard, but really aren’t.
Love & Light, my friends!