“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw
Most (but not all) of us have the ability to speak. But we all know that words don’t tell the whole story – that sometimes when we respond to content without taking into account the tone and body language and context etc. – we can miss what’s actually being communicated.
There is a beautiful way to make clear what we really mean by doing a bit of collaborative and proactive spelunking with those who know us well to discover what we’re really saying with our actions.
For example, it’s important for people in my life to know that at anytime when I am cranky, it might mean my blood sugar is low, and to ask me if I’ve eaten recently.
There are 4 components here, which are:
- Context – what is happening
- Actions/Behaviors – what the person does or does not do
- Possible meanings
- What a helpful response might be (as defined by the person)
Using your imagination, you can see that working up a chart with this information could be useful for most any relationship, but especially one where underlying physical/mental conditions have a bigger influence.
Fill in the blanks for yourself. Think about times when you’re being misunderstood and feeling poorly and just can’t seem to get the right reaction from others in your life. Like when you’ve just gotten back from work, or the store, and are complaining about what’s been happening – it might mean you just want to be heard, and the response you want is for someone to listen, not to probe or give advise.
Got it? My challenge is to ASK someone in your life about YOUR indirect communication, as THEY know better than you. Then, begin your chart – so you BOTH know what’s really being said. ~Z