Spirituality principles, struggles, knowledge base and insights for the earnest seeker.

Talking Is Not Communicating

We often think when we talk we are communicating. Actually we are not. We also think that the more we talk the more is our communication. Actually it is not. We then become frustrated when the person we are talking to does not seem to understand what we have communicated. Actually it is not the person’s fault. It’s our own.

Communication is not the measure of what is spoken or talked. Communication is the measure of what is understood. So if you speak of ten things and the person whom you spoke to only understood one thing then you only communicated 10% of what you spoke.

If you understand this then you will begin to appreciate the problem of communication. You will be more aware next time when you speak that some and maybe even most of what you are saying might not end up being communicated at all. If you realize that than you would seek new and better ways to communicate or you might even come to the conclusion that not saying anything might actually be the best form of communication.

The Problem With Being Nice

When communicating we often place a great emphasis on being nice. We believe communications done in a nice way get across better and project a better image of ourselves. After all we don’t want people to get the “wrong impression” and start thinking that we are not nice. Being nice is given so much importance that it takes precedence over being genuine. We want so much for others to like us that we are willing to suppress our true feelings and put on a pleasant demeanor all in order to appeal to others. In the process we betray ourselves because not only do we not communicate what we truly feel but what gets across is the wrong message. We than are left in a state of feeling misunderstood and blame others for it while in fact it was we ourselves who could not muster enough courage to remain true to who we are and say what is actually on our minds. When at moments of great stress our feelings do come out they appear raw and not well thought out. The listener would assume that we are having a meltdown and disregard everything we say in such moments. Sometimes the opposite will happen when the listener would take far too seriously everything we say and end up assuming the worst of us. It is the very fear of such outcomes that keep us from truly expressing ourselves and we continue on this path of constantly trying to be nice all to time to all the people. However the reason for such outburst and such ineffective communication is because we have not done the work of being honest and genuine with our feelings. We have not worked out why we feel the way we feel and who or what is responsible. We have not put into words what we feel or how we might describe it to someone near and dear. As such when it does comes out, it is unrehearsed with thoughts and ideas often contradicting each other.

The solution then is to do the work necessary of addressing and working out our feelings and how we might want to communicate it and communicate it calmly in a way the other person would be willing to listen and understand. To accomplish this a lot of introspection is needed – something that most people shy and try they level best to avoid.

The Hurdle of Personal History

Each of us learn to speak and talk at home by watching our parents and elders. Naturally we than adopt the manner and style of communicating that they use. Parents that talk in shallow mode will tend to impart that style of communication to their children. This is then either reinforced or modified by the way our friends communicated with us. The company that we keep will determine how we communicate and what we prefer to communicate about. As we enter into personal long term relationship we take along with us all this influences from the past. Our habits of communicating will effect our communications with our partners either for the better or worse. A self aware person is aware of how their personal history shapes they way the speak, hear and understand others. Such a person notices the limitation of their way of communicating and try to change and adopt to suit their environment. Conversely a person who is not self aware will only grow in frustration in their personal relationship when they encounter a breakdown in communication with their loved ones. Such persons will naturally blame others for their failure in communication.

Assumed Understanding

In any personal relationship we tend to believe that we know our partners very well. We often form such understanding not through insights but rather true simple observations. We assume that if our partner likes to stay at home, that must mean they dislike adventures. If our partners is angry or cross with us and refuses to engage in a discussion we assume we must have done something wrong or that there is something wrong with them. Through such simplistic thought processes we assume we understand our partner. Such an attitude does not do justice to them nor to us. Assuming that we understand someone is not a sign of understanding but rather a lack of it. To truly understand someone we need to see them in their most vulnerable state. Most people will never reveal that to their partner – especially the strong willed individual be they men or women. As such it is important to realize that we can never truly understand our partner no matter how many decades we have spent living with them. Understanding a persons habits, likes and dislikes and mannerism is not understanding the person. People are much more complicated than that.

A labor of love for the seeker – whoever you are and wherever you may be. May you find solace in these words.

Your brother in spirit

ben gill

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