We weave our realities with the words we use. Words are what help us to work together and achieve together. Words are the invisible threads that help us connect with others, to share our thoughts, feelings and intentions.
But how we choose to use our words is a crucial issue. We can use words to destroy or we can use words to create. We can create a world that reflects positive engagement or we can create a world of difficulties with our relationships, work and emotions.
To a large extent how we choose to communicate has a great deal to do with how we see people. If we see them as potentially dangerous, untrustworthy and unfeeling; our communication will reflect that and is likely to be critical, combative and insensitive.
However, if we see people as being much like ourselves: trying their best, using their skills and experience as best they can, vulnerable, sometimes confused and capable of a wide range of emotions and experiences. Then our communication will likely be more tolerant and supportive and we would choose to engage constructively, rather than destructively.
When we see others as very much like ourselves – also trying to survive – we can feel empathy and a sense of common humanity. From this perspective, we can set a communication standard to, at the very, least not attack another person’s self-esteem and to treat people at all levels as equals and with the same respect we hope to get for ourselves.
While we can’t control others’ response to us, we can maximise the likelihood of an equally constructive reaction and a harmonious outcome. Conversely, a combative, destructive style of engagement is most likely to elicit defensiveness, at best, or aggression, at worst.
What this basically means is that communication is more than just saying what comes into your mind – it is actually a craft that can be learnt and practised in a conscious and intentional way.
So join me as we delve deeper into how we can craft communication that supports our intentions, our relationships and the world we weave around us.
This is the first part of a series of posts. See Part Two here.
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