Monday, February 15, 2010

The Art of Communcation

I love words. Words are dynamic. In a metaphysical way of looking at things, we exist because of words. Think about it. Words, positive or negative, are powerful. In fact, look at what this entire blog is comprised of ... words! Yummy. Simple, but true.
So, ask yourself this: How many times in my life have I been disappointed by the outcome of a situation and thought to myself, "I wish I would've said (insert case-appropriate terminology here.)" For me, the answer to that question is: Too many. However, also for me, the addendum to that answer is: ... but, at less frequent intervals than ever before. Can you claim that addendum, too? (She asks with fingers crossed hoping so ... )
Well, here's a simple phrase to keep in your back pocket: "Use your words." This is something that I tell myself over and over in daily life, and it's amazing how powerful that simple phrase is. It's a particularly important statement for those who are predisposed to introversion, but it's useful for extroverts, too. Introverts may need to use their words to communicate their true wants or desires, and extroverts may need to use them properly to convey their message so that they achieve their goals without trampling over others. In whichever case, "use your words" is a handy tool.
Whenever faced with a situation that causes inner-conflict, whether the scenario contains an innocuous question such as what do you want for dinner, or a life-threatening statement like, we have reason to believe it's cancer, words are the catalyst to helping you resolve what you're feeling inside so that you can communicate your feelings and be empowered to make the choices that are right for you. Whether that empowerment means that you get the Italian meal that you wanted instead of the Mexican option that was being forced on you, or that you can explore deeper the alternatives that are available to you in a life-or-death case, using your words will shed light on the topic and allow you to move in the direction that you so desire.
Another way of saying this is, simply, communicate what you're thinking and what you're feeling. None of us has the power to read another's mind, and further none of us can feel what someone else is feeling. The only way we really have of understanding each other is by using our words, right?
Congruently, and of equal importance, what if we, the global community of man, perfected the art of listening? Yes, "art." Think of the powerful implications, both in your own life as well as in the world out there, of using our words, and actually having them heard! Many times, we (people) run a two-for-one special on words ... along with the words we say, we also offer the words that we don't say. Well, guess what, listening - truly listening - ensures that you're getting the best of that bargain!
What is this "art of listening?"
Here's an obvious analogy; I'm not an artist. I admire those who have been born with the natural ability to make a canvass come to life, but I, by no stretch of the imagination, include myself among them. But, I do firmly believe that, if I put a little effort into it, I can learn how to produce a work of art. It may not come naturally to me, but with some training and instruction, I would be willing to bet that I could paint or sculpt something that would be a definite improvement over what I could possibly do today - maybe even a piece of work that people would admire ... okay, now I'm getting carried away.
Conversely, I am a listener. It's something that does come naturally to me. I'm a listener, an observer, a student of my surroundings. When engaged in conversation, it's important to me to hear what is being said, and to relate those words to what I know inherently, or - if circumstances dictate - compel me to investigate further so that I really understand what is being said, and the meaning behind it. Does that sound like a lot of work? It may be - are you a listener, or are you someone who needs to perfect this art? If you're not inherently a listener, it doesn't mean that you're "less than" anymore than not being able to paint makes you inferior to someone who can. What's important, though, is being able to recognize where you can, and should, improve ... and, being happy with yourself for choosing to do so.
Think about it - imagine the potential for all of us, if everyone would say what they mean, mean what they say and actually, truly hear each other? Incredible! Yes, communication - speaking and listening - is a key driver to achieving happiness, success and fulfillment in every aspect of life . Make communication a priority today, and each day going forward. Use your words ... and, your ears. You will, undoubtedly, be glad you did.
Peacefully,
Donna Kirby

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