Saturday, February 28, 2009

Filling in the Blanks

Communication is an art form. The words we use, our body language, whether or not we make eye contact... all these areas add up to our communication. When these areas are in conflict we send mixed messages. This causes the people around us to have trouble understanding our intentions. The words we use may have different meanings to each of us depending on our values, family of origin and life experiences. But our body language speaks for us on an unconscious level.

We may say that we are interested in talking with another, but our arms folded, our legs crossed leaning away from our companion and our body curled up in that same direction, say we do not want to communicate. We may say that our self esteem is healthy, but our reluctance to make eye contact says otherwise.

What do we do when the verbal and non verbal messages we get from another do not mesh? We use our tools. We first assess the situation. How do we feel? Are we centered, calm and open to hearing another point of view? Have we contributed to the discomfort in some way? Are we aware of some issue that may be being processed? If we are truly aware of ourselves and our part in the situation then we will know the answer to these questions. We can be honest with ourselves and trust our instincts. It may be appropriate to give our partner some time to be alone. In that moment we can give ourselves the gift of self care as we permit our partner the same privilege. Once all parties are calm and centered a discussion can take place around the area of communication. Differences can be discussed intellectually rather than emotionally. Compromises can be reached and understanding will flourish. In this way we practice our tools of self care and increase our self esteem.

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