Communication is the key. The key to what? I think it might be the key to happiness, joy, peace, community, and so many other things that need to be built.
Without clear communication, people on both sides are confused. Communication is not just a one way street. It involves two or more people giving and taking. It involves the speaker and the receiver. Both have their own obstacles to overcome and work through to understand what is being spoken and what is actually received.
What is the impact if the message is delivered with hostility? What if the message is delivered with not enough words? What if the message is received with hostility because of the story that the receiver is telling herself? Each one of us comes with a story that clouds the messages we send and the messages we receive. It’s important to remember the purpose of the exchange: to share information, to teach, to change minds, to prove someone wrong, to build connection, what is your purpose? That will drive the intention and keep the flow centered on the impact.
If I am working super hard and I feel like others around me are not working as hard, I might be rerunning an old “tape” in which I am feeling unappreciated and overworked. I might snap at others to get with the program or direct them to get to work or something else. Depending on my level of frustration or the stories I have in me, that message might come across as super bitchy or mean.
If I am working with someone and I have just experienced a big loss emotionally, my head might not be in the game. I mgith be thinkinga bout myself and not working as hard as I usually do. When my coworker snaps at me to get into the game and get to work, I can feel very attacked, even if they are not “bitching” or “barking” at me, if I already have a story going on that I am not good enough (the story that I am telling myself since I just experienced an emotional loss), I will feel attacked even if there is not an attack going on.
As I have worked through many things in life, I have learned more and more about communication. I have learned that I am not perfect at it. I have learned that even when I think it is perfectly obvious what my intention is, it can still be misinterpreted or not received with my original intention. My IMPACT does not match my intent.
I have learned that teenagers and butches speak their own language. I have learned that it is harder to communicate when both sides do not have the same terminology or understanding of the vocabulary.
I have learned that listening is hard when you are forming your reply and your rebuttal even while someone is still speaking. I have learned that it is not okay to personally attack or call names.
I have learned some of my triggers. I have asked questions of myself when I feel myself triggered. I have questioned my stories. I have worked on my tone and delivery. I have reassessed, reevaluated, and asked more questions. I will keep asking more questions.
I have learned that I can suck at communicating. I have also learned that I can be a great communicator. I have learned by fucking up and I have learned by staying open. I have learned to keep asking questions.
What is my part? What is my story? What can I do differently? What is my intent? What is/was my impact? What is my hope? What did I accomplish? is my ego involved? What is my part? What can I do differently? Can my tone, content, body language, and message be improved? of course. Of course.
In my new role, my communication skills are going to be challenged and will continue to evolve and improve. Of course my skills are going to improve because I am going to practice them. You get proficient at what you practice. I am working on developing plans for various nursing education groups. It will help me focus my teaching and practice my teaching.
Teaching a group will require to gauge the level of comprehension of the various students. One size does not fit all. I cannot talk to each person the same way. While all deserve to be spoke to with kindness, compassion, and respect, not all will receive the information the same. It is my responsibility to determine the best way to communicate with various levels of understanding and mental illness.
It’s a balancing act trying to find the best way to communicate. I mess up a lot. I get it right a lot too. It hurts me when I communicate in a way that isn’t received in the spirit of my intention. I used to get butt hurt about it. Now I realize that it is my responsibility to clarify intention and impact. It is my responsibility to be kind, compassionate, and truthful. It is not all of my responsibility if the message is misinterpreted. It is also the receiver’s responsibility to clarify their story (ask questions), clarify the intent, clarify the actual message, and ask questions.
Communication is a two way street with many potential road blocks and obstacles. It can work but sometimes it gets slippery and dangerous. Other times, there is a connection and an understanding and a willingness to be open and understanding that allows free flowing communication with good feelings and mutual understanding.
It’s not easy but it’s worth it for improved well being. Blocking communication or suppressing it is not healthy.