Bridging the Divided

I Am Feeling Instead of You Make Me…..

I found this quote the other day on the Internet. Is there anything we can’t find on the Internet? Anyway, it struck a chord. Why do we do this? Why can’t we be our authentic selves and honestly communicate with others? Authenticity in communication can be painful, cathartic, and healing all at the same time, but we don’t seem to understand that. Sparing the feelings of another really does hinder meaningful communication. 

Having said that, meaningful and authentic communication needs to be delivered from a heart speaking to the other’s highest good. Authentic and meaningful communication is only valuable if we learn in the process, if we are able to reach a higher level of understanding of self and others. Authentic and meaningful communication may sting for a moment, but in the end, love and mutual respect heal the sting. 

Communication is an art form. How we say something is more important than what we say. We can be open and honest with others and speak from the heart using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Hurt feelings occur when the other believes they are being verbally attacked. Feeling attacked in conversation puts us on the defensive; we can’t listen with the heart and truly hear what the other is saying. Communicating with “I” statements allows authentic and meaningful communication to take place. “I am feeling stifled in this relationship” or “I am not feeling heard or respected”, instead of “You are so possessive!” or “You never listen to me and obviously don’t give a crap about me!”. “I” statements leave the door open to further discussion, we can work out our differences, come to a mutual agreement, allow the other to see a situation through our eyes, all of which are opportunities for growth and healing.

Electronic communication and social media have helped create an often negative and inauthentic communication environment. Emails, texts, and social media put distance between us and the hearer, we are more inclined to speak harshly, to go on the attack, neither of which serve anyone’s higher understanding. I am amazed, and not in a good way, what people are willing to say on Facebook and other social media sites. So saturated are we in negative and hurtful comments and statements our defensive shields are permanently raised and ready to defend against verbal arrows of assault we perceive are flying in our direction. When we are drawn into actual conversation with another we automatically go into defensive mode and the words we hear, whether intended or not, sound critical to our ears conditioned to hear negativity more acutely than words of encouragement and positivity. 

On the flip side, we are more concerned than ever about hurting the feelings of others when engaged in conversation. It’s an odd paradox. We may have just blasted someone with a differing opinion on a social media site or sent off a scathing email, but the minute we are presented with the opportunity for meaningful in-person conversation we are consumed with fear of hurting the other. Truth be told, the impact of a scathing email or negative social media post won’t hinder a relationship as much as leaving important words unsaid for fear of offending or hurting another. Unsaid words that in the end will deepen the bonds of true relationship will fester in the heart much like an infected wound and the relationship is at risk of permanent damage. Speaking the words that need to be said from a spirit of love and acceptance of another’s differences and preserving the sacredness of the relationship will allow all parties involved in the relationship to grow and provide the opportunity to reach new heights of understanding.

Are you presenting your authentic self when in conversation with others? Changing how we communicate will change the relationships we share with others…..

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