Sometimes we are so concerned about other people’s opinion of us that we carefully measure what we say, when we say it and even if we say something that is on our mind. Being aware of how we come across to others is a good thing. Like anything else in life it is a matter of timing and balance. When we are tired, not feeling well or overly stressed words sometimes tumble out and we wish we had a shovel to scoop them up quickly and pretend that they never happened. My British grandmother used to say, ‘The less said the sooner mended.’ She was a wise woman.
The truth is that good communication even among friends and family takes awareness and effort. It’s sort of like watering desert plants. Too much and the plants suffer or too little and they die. They are dependent on the natural order the give and take in their environment.
Similarly, there is a natural order to communication. Everyone takes a turn, we listen intently without interrupting and we ask clarifying questions to to be sure we understand their point. After all each of us from our past experiences have slightly different meanings for words spoken. Sometimes we may need to exhibit a bit more effort to remain mentally engaged but do so because we value not only the exchange but more importantly the person. We learn that a pause in the conversation is a good thing and doesn’t need to be quickly filled with a response. Pauses may just mean that the person is truly thinking about what was just said. As a result, our communication becomes deeper, richer and fuller.
How valued we feel when someone gives us undivided attention because they truly want to hear what we have to say. It is the ultimate compliment. Yet even with this compliment we are wise to remember that they also have a story to tell and may just be waiting for encouragement to do so. Another wise person once said, ‘You can learn amazing things when you truly listen.’ It’s true listening is at the heart of good communication. There is a reason why we have two ears and only one mouth.
It is, as if, everyone needs their place in the orchestra of life. Their instrument is their voice. Sometimes they need to be invited ‘up on stage’ by asking their opinion but that simple act shows them that they are valued. We all want to be noticed or applauded from time to time and authentic communication is a perfect way to do so.
When we take the time to listen and be heard we encourage, empathize and perform the ritual of living life to the fullest. We recognize that we are more alike than different and that the differences we do have are a good thing because they fit our individual life plan perfectly. Isn’t that just amazing?
Have a great few days!