The art of communication
The most common misconception about the art of communication is that it has anything to do with speaking. The most important part of communication will always be the willingness to listen.
It's usually our own stress, fears of not being understood, fears of not being listened to that tends to make us want to rampage over anything 'others' may be feeling or trying to say, and in that moment, push our friends and loved ones that much further away. No one is selfish for the fun of it
The combat of wellness is not about blaming ourselves. It's about trying to understand others and ourselves better so that we may become more effective in our efforts to realize our dreams.
Communication requires a strength to accept that we may not have all the answers, but our side of the aisle may not be correct about everything and that maybe, just maybe, communication with others may be the only path forward.
Part of the reason why people can be so thickheaded, unable to see reason, unable to listen to us, is usually due to what we call the painful self-preservation part of fight or flight mode, as in that part of the fight or flight system that tries to help us survive by forcing us to focus on possible threats to our survival or longevity.
For some reason in men, this appears to make them more defensive about their image, legacy and standing to the point where they become more likely to blame others around them. While women appear more likely to doubt their beauty, their value, their worth and so on.
Before anyone can really begin to communicate they have to understand how stress has been creating divisions between them and everyone else until now. Including the ability to instruct or influence others. And so that when we see signs of shortsightedness, inability to communicate, anger, attacks and so on- that we realize that we are simply looking at various symptoms of stress. No matter how crazy others may appear to be acting, no matter how much their actions may hurt or upset us, there will invariably be some sort of problem they think they are trying to solve. It is their own stress that leads to their shortsightedness that makes them think they're being a hero when quite the reverse is true.
One of the hardest things to do in the wellness world is nothing, as in meditation to refocus on the improvement of our breath which any martial artist, sniper or professional athlete can tell you is quintessential to success in the battlefield of life. Meditation helps lead to the ability to simply face another person and listen without the red colored glasses that we're used to wearing when talking across the aisle or even with our loved ones.
The most important parts of communication have nothing to do speaking as they deal with what it takes to be able to simply be there and listen. It's heavily dependent upon how seriously one is willing to take their own self-improvement. If we allow ourselves to fall toward depression, anger and surrounding cancel culture then we are likely to become a part of the problem.
With the combat of wellness, we don't care about who's right or wrong. We care about what the solutions are. And so too communication in general should be focused in the same way. Hours spent arguing over whose fault something was won't necessarily lead to any improvements. While communication that's concessionary, or being willing to assume that someone was acting to the best of their ability with information that they had, and more focused on how to prevent that same thing from happening again is all that matters.
Even if, let's say, this is a rare clear matter where the other is clearly in the wrong. And they're completely unwilling to admit fault. It's not our job to rub it in. It's not our job to twist the knife that already exists no matter how stubborn they appear to be on the outside.
Yet without them also understanding stress in the combat of wellness, it will be very hard to communicate with them at all.
And this is why communication is an art form, because there are always many factors at play. It simply our job to make sure that our own insecurity, our own lack of knowledge, our own assumptions are not playing a factor in poor communication. It is not our force that is most likely to help others see our way, our client as the story of the wind and the sun.
Communication is not idle chatter, but something else entirely. It's a tool. It requires one to be willing to have a somewhat open-minded approach to life that's based on evidence, instead of rumor. Recognizing that multiple people saying the same thing across different websites and so on is not evidence. That's just what parrots do.
Communication itself begins with a pure thought and a clear intention for the recipient of the following communication. It's spoken with enough specificity to understand its context, direction and so on. It's not burdened with unnecessary emotion, faultfinding or blame. The purity of its words is based solely on the intention of the speaker. Does the speaker want to turn the recipient into a crying bubbling mess over an accident they made? That requires a specific set of words that will not result in preventing that same action from happening again, and actually is more likely to keep it going.
For example, when wives yell at their husbands "why do you always leave the toilet seat up?" It confuses the husband because her energy clearly says "I'm really upset that you did this and I want you to never do it again." But the words say "you always do this, you always have and you always will." Our words have power and are better served to assume the goodness in others than to assume the perpetual mistakes.
One hack we have for this is to simply add the words "that's odd" to anything that you don't wish for the other person to keep doing. That communicates, "that's unlike you, you are above this." And thus the sentence becomes "huh... You left the toilet seat up again... That's odd, no worries."
In this example of how focusing on what the intention of our communication is can help to shape our words to better bring about the change that we would like to see. If you're an employee that's usually late to work and your bosses say "you're such a lazy no good-er, you're always late, there's no hope for you!" You will feel more depressed, it's going to be harder for you get to sleep, as can be harder for you to wake up and so the cycle goes. Are managers really supposed to care about the feelings of their employees? Not necessarily, but at the very least they shouldn't be in the way of their improvement. Instead greeting an employee who was late with "hey you were late today, that's odd, well it's good to have you here let us know if you need any help." If they continue to be late to the point where their own employment may be at risk then that can also be communicated without unneeded anger. "Hey I'm sorry to pull you into my office but for some reason we've noticed that you've been routinely late recently, which is weird because that's not like you (Even if it is). Whatever is going on that's stressing you at work, please let me know and maybe I can help improve things or training as needed. If issues from your life or the outside world are dragging you down, then feel free to speak with HR as we are here for you and would hate to see you go."
In the combat of wellness we have to recognize that sometimes our own words can get in the way of the changes we would like to see.
This also means refusing to give up on the people that we love, while making it clear that there are red lines in the sand, so to speak.
Elsewhere in this website we will talk about how to deal with negativity and stress. But it's clear that the subject of communication is not an isolated one. Going to an acting class or public speaking workshop can help wonders for people. But it's even more important for us to take responsibility for the state of our minds, and the direction that we tend to focus on will always be more important.
Sometimes, when people communicate with others, they are afraid to offend, especially in today's world were people are getting more and more offended from less and less aggregate matters. It's gotten dangerous as many people have lost jobs for things that they said many years ago. We have to recognize that a society will always have accepted norms that may or not may not be correct. It will always have things that it considers to be edgy to say or too far. Societies are guaranteed to change over time in their opinions of what is acceptable, even what types of comedy are acceptable. Thus judging others for things that they've said in times past, where those statements were not as held in contempt, is unfair. It's important for us to communicate with each other to make it clear what is and what is not cool, and obviously much of it should be common sense but many people grew up isolated from the pains those words cause others. It is not judgment that they need but communication. Especially if someone realizes that a slur is not cool, we shouldn't attack them for "taking so long to realize it" and instead give them a nod. This also requires us to ask the question of, "In some cases, is our own stress pushing the bar on our own sensitivities?" Yet that's perhaps the hardest question to ask.
Communication is much more about the approach to it then how it's carried out. We all know how to speak. Some speak very softly that makes it hard to hear and leads to others asking them to repeat themselves and then to their own frustrated shouts to 'make sure the others had heard them.' But aside from all that the importance of communication will always be who we are as people and how strongly we're willing to stick to our ideals of kindness, understanding and compassion, even for others across the aisle.
As we say on our homepage, the battle we face today is not so much as left versus right but us all versus stress. We have to recognize that stress is leading to titanic costs to our corporate business world that then leads them to demanding and asking for corporate welfare and "incentives," aka corporate socialism. While also realizing that the large amount of stress that individuals face are leading to their burnout, diseases, inability to learn, inability to commit to work and so on and that we should get better at, not necessarily with how much money we throw around to both sides of the aisle, but how much better we get at precisely dealing with the root cause of all violence, disease and dissension within our families and society at large.
Many clients ask why we think stress is such an all encompassing danger to our society, like we're oversimplifying complex problems of the world. And while we agree that if we were all able to overcome our stress that the problems of the world would not disappear overnight, but they would finally be more than possible to solve.
The solution to pain in our families and society will always have to begin with dealing with stress head on and then only by the power of our communication can progress be made, instead of memes.
I wish this page could simply say 'communication is the manifestation of one's intention in that moment that's specific and loud enough for the other person to understand, and without undue emotional baggage that could make the reception of that communication more than distasteful or even possible'... but it is truly an art form that is only as effective we are.
If you have difficulty communicating with others, study how fight or flight has been getting in your and others way. And then practice that which makes you uncomfortable. If you feel uncomfortable speaking up then practice speaking up. If you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a group then practice speaking in front of a group, even if that just begins as a printout on your wall.
This also includes the communication you have for yourself. All of us tend to be overly focused on our shortcomings and mistakes that, like above, only reinforce the same mistakes and faults. That's where affirmations can help as it is the literal fight to change the flavor of our communication to ourselves for the better.
Like a army cadet facing insurmountable odds. When he's willing to at least say "We're not dying today," then he'll find himself to be encumbered by less stress to have better odds at survival.
"Don't agree with the reality you dislike. Believe in the one you dream and never give up on working to realize it."
Until we learn to communicate more kindly, compassionately and in a more motivating way to ourselves, then it will be very difficult to do the same with others. What we think are moments of simply voicing our concern are more likely to be received as constant nagging that pushes others away.
There are no shortcuts. But once in motion, every path forward becomes easier and easier until one day you'll look up to realize that you've mastered more and more areas of your life.
Never underestimate the power within you to improve conditions, even ones long assumed to be impossible. Never underestimate the power of your voice and do your best to use it for good, above all else.