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Feel free to correct me in any of these observations.
I realize that as humans, we tend to feel. When we feel, we want to express these feelings (whether positive or negative). We use different avenues to express, and one of the main ways through which this is done is by using the words we have stored in our respective vocabularies. Some speak clearly and concisely; some like to use long, expansive anecdotes and analogies. Some like to season their vocal offerings with what society would today call “expletives”, or “obscenities”. In this way, we make our feelings known. What I think we fail to remember most of the time is that even though we have said a thing or put it into writing, it is still left to be interpreted by the receiver.
Whoever we are communicating with has their own experiences that serve as a filter for their perception of the world. When we say something to someone, we cannot assume that they will automatically understand us. When they don’t we tend to feel negative about the experience and may be led to react in an unhealthy or unhelpful manner. This is where the problem usually is.
There is a saying that people don’t hear to listen, they just hear to respond. If you’ve ever heard this being said, it is implying that people don’t usually take the time to think about what they just heard. In this day and age, jumping to conclusions is a favourite past time for many. News and rumours can spread without regard as to whether the information contained in these nuggets is worth spreading. It is important to take the time to place yourself in the other’s position and see life from their angle before responding to anything.
How we interpret what we see and hear tends to be based on our traumas, our difficulties, bad habits we learned growing up, coping mechanism, familial influence, etc. This is why one needs to be able to keep a cool head and filter out any negativity on his/her part. Opportunities to end a discussion amicably and with full comprehension are wasted when we raise our voices in opposition all the time. We cannot live life as though we are always under attack from the people around us; sure, it may feel that way, but you’d have to take the time to figure out why. Maybe it’s a bit hard to talk to you because you’re very defensive and quick to block out any angle you don’t agree with. Maybe you have a bad habit of not paying attention when someone is sharing with you. Maybe you simply don’t care to be respectful. In all of these possibilities, please note that how someone speaks with and to you will be largely influenced by these and other factors.
Personally, I don’t talk much. Words are a bit too common now, and we kinda share many viewpoints as far as logical thinking will allow. If I have something to say, I’ll try and say it; if my self-confidence is low that day, I may not say it loudly. If I find that I don’t want/need to say anything at all, I enjoy the silence. A lot can also be understood by saying nothing at all.
I wish you many more healthy and productive conversations.
Blessings in abundance!