I would venture to say that the majority of western civilization uses one of the following to talk to another human; email, Instagram, FB Messenger, Snapchat or texting. We have these lovely little apparatuses, aka smart phones, that can instantaneously connect us to one another in a moment. We can literally be anywhere (yes, I know you text in the bathroom too, no shame or judgement here) and can shoot a text or email. In most cases we can get an instant response, or at least we would like to get an appropriately timed response. Once that “ping” comes through we get a tiny rush of satisfaction that we have been “seen” and responded to. We have made a connection….or have we?
These days it is so easy to feel like we’re connected through social media or through simple means like texting. We meet someone for a moment and it is only a matter of time that we are asking for their FB, IG or Snapchat info…and if you’re wanting to go that extra mile you’ll exchange cell numbers. All of these forms of communication aren’t bad per say, but unfortunately these forms of communication can, more often than not, lead to false perceptions of connection and real relationship.
Trust me, I am guilty of spending copious amount of hours on social media. I even justify this by saying to myself, “I just want to stay connected to people.” The question is though, “Am I any more connected with that person, or personality I’ve never met, than I was before spending the evening checking up on all of the people I ‘know’?” The answer to that is a big fat, “NO.”
What I have found is that the more I scan over the cropped, filtered and edited version of people’s lives the more it can leave one empty, disillusioned and feel like you are lacking. Social media can be a good in its rightful place, but it also has this sly way of creating a space where we can begin to think we aren’t good enough, thin enough, muscular enough, handsome enough, pretty enough, significant enough, healthy enough or _____ enough (you fill in the blank). It makes one question who they are based on other’s social status (married, single, dating, engaged, new mom, or new dad…just to name a few). We begin to conjure up thoughts that usually start with, “if I only had____,” I wish was more like____,” or “I’m glad I’m not like____.” There are many more thought processes I am sure but you get the picture.
Anyone that knows me knows I am a HUGE proponent of communication, especially FACE-to-FACE. I am not sure if there is a thing of over communicating but if there is I might be a candidate! I have learned over and over again the value of communicating well. Keep in mind talking and communication are two different things. I know you’ve been in those situations where there was a whole lot of talking but nothing was being said, yeah it’s grueling. And let’s not get me started on gossip! I HATE gossip! Gossip is the anthesis of communication. Gossip kills and destroys and always comes to a vile end. No one wins with gossip, no one.
Communication as a whole has a desired end. You’re either wanting to get to know someone better or you’re maybe wanting to resolve an issue of the heart with family, friends or your spouse. Communication takes intentionality, time, understanding, a good listening ear and being a good question asker.
Communication can be really hard at times. So much so that we try and avoid it like the plague because it just seems too daunting to open yourself up to discuss something and you do not know what the outcome will be (trust me, I know this all too well). Communication can seem risky, but if you have enough value for yourself and the other person, no matter the outcome, the risk is always worth it.
Communication is a gift to give and receive. It’s all in HOW you communicate. When I am communicating I try to keep in mind the following:
•be unassuming (ask LOTS of questions to be sure you are hearing correctly)
•be generous with your time
•be concise and clear
•be open…open to hear you might have been wrong
•be ready…ready to have a different outcome than you had thought
•be willing (to respond, forgive)
•be love (love covers)
These are just a few things to think about when you want to communicate well. I know there is more ideas and there are also a plethora of practical help on the “how-tos” of communicating well (that may be another post). For today I wanted to try and awaken a place in you that is imperative if we want to live life to the full. If we want to do anything well in life it will require you to communicate. If done well, even if you know the conversation might be sucky or awkward, you still will have the assurance that you did it the right way or the best you knew how to do.
•So today, I encourage you to communicate.
• Communicate well + communicate often.
•There is never a bad time to communicate, just a bad time if you don’t.
Until next time, have a joy filled day!