Communication is everything! It’s the breath of life and the food that feeds your soul. It’s too easy to play the game of guess what I’m really saying or read between the lines. I know that most don’t like to be in the middle of a confrontation so will avoid real communication to bypass hurting someone’s feelings or getting hurt themselves. Often I’m in a situation where I’m supposed to be able to read another person’s mind, which I’m not very good at so I put my foot in my mouth.
What stops us from being able to communicate in a clear meaningful fashion? Why is it the case that too often we say what we perceive what others want to hear instead of speaking the truth. My mom was one not to mince words and would at times embarrass me because of being brutally honest. I would often tell her that she didn’t have to be so blunt. Then we would argue about the difference between what is true vs. what is being brutally honest. My mom’s communication style usually would win out.
I believe communication is a learned skill that one acquires mostly through the influence of their family and peers. The challenge is when you are raised around either screamer types or shy reserve types. I have friends who I truly believed would never be able to speak for themselves and would always require someone else to speak on their behalf. I have other friends who I would be afraid to be around because if I stepped out of line I would get screamed at and be put in my place. The goal is to acquire your own personal style that expresses who you are and the imprint you want to leave behind.
So what happens when you don’t really know what to say? Isn’t it best to say little or nothing? I don’t necessarily think that silence is golden, unless I’m around a screamer then yes for the sake of my ears please ‘zip’ it! I know that some people will be quick talker thinker types that will always dominate a conversation. The quick talkers will always overshadow the quiet reserve types. The real goal would be for everyone to choose to be better listeners first before trying to express themselves or dominate someone else.
Isn’t it better to be honest and tell someone that you aren’t sure about something instead of misrepresenting yourself? I always tell my at risk youth that it’s so much better to speak the truth because liars have to acquire perfect memory skills. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the answers to someone’s questions or totally understand the mysteries of life!
I love Mark Twain’s common sense approach to life in this quote, ‘I’ve lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.’ It’s too easy to have poor communication skills create problems and heartache that don’t have to happen.
Time to be slow to speak and quick to listen!