Just as I was mulling over what to write about for my Christmas nudge, I came across the following quote that’s always resonated with me:
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it’s taken place.” (George Bernard Shaw)
Feels like an apt quote going into the Christmas break when communications can prove harder to navigate as we rush to complete what we need to do, and the resulting stress that can so often build up.
For me, this has been exacerbated by ending the year with a broken wrist, which has led to some testing moments! That said, at the same time, it’s given me greater clarity about what makes for easier communications. Here’s what I’ve found.
Moods come and go – if you let them!
We can all go through a multitude of moods in any given day, and so often we innocently attribute them to external events going on around us. This can inevitably lead to all kinds of communication problems. If we like what’s happening we feel good, but if we don’t, then the overthinking, and resulting mis-communication that often occurs, can quickly lead to poor decision making and unhelpful actions.
Far better to view moods much as you would the weather, rather than attaching them to people or situations. This isn’t some ‘woo woo’ thinking! The proof of this is that often nothing has changed externally and yet some days you just wake up feeling better don’t you? So allow moods to come and go without much thought, and wait for a better mood to surface – which it always does. Only then communicate or take action when you’re in a better frame of mind.
A clear mind leads to fresh insights
If you’ve ever experienced struggling with a problem or decision only to find the answer comes to you when you least expect it, say, when you’re driving, showering or taking a walk, then you’ll know you had very little on your mind when the thought or solution arose.
Being in a constant state of busyness only serves to shut down that innate wisdom in all of us.
I’ve worked with some people who find it very hard to just be with themselves, and I think that plays into their stress levels. I’ve found that people who enjoy their own company, or find it easier to take quiet time out for themselves, experience much less drama, and a greater sense of wellbeing, that tends to lead to far better communication with others – and themselves.
Watch out for projecting your stuff
It is said that when we don’t like, or criticize something, about someone else, it can be because they are mirroring back to us something in ourselves that we haven’t seen or confronted. And never is this truer than when it comes to communicating with people we’re close to! We might say someone is projecting their stuff onto us, but the opposite can be the case. This can be especially so when we find ourselves attempting to communicate about the same thing time and time again.
At such times, it can really help to just stop and get curious as to what might be causing the breakdown in communications. Instead, ask yourself:
What am I believing about this person in this moment?
What could be underlying their (or my) reactions?
If this was my last conversation with this person, how would I like it to end up?
When it comes to communications, I am a firm believer in we are all doing the best that we can from our own unique perspective, and state of mind in the moment.
Another’s best might look very different from what we consider to be our point of view, but seeing others through that filter, and attributing good intentions, makes for much easier and successful interactions.
Wishing you a very happy and relaxing Christmas, and here’s to less busyness, and more different conversations in 2017!