Communication is such an important part of our lives. It is all about shared understanding, but to begin with we often start with mis-understanding. Communication leads us to conclusions in understanding ourselves, our world and each other. When communication fails, things can get pretty intense and sometimes even hilarity can ensue.
Years ago I was a volunteer at Hospice. At the beginning of every shift, we were to check the log book provided by the hospice staff for an overview of the clients we were to work with for the day.
My friend Pam was volunteering one day and under one particularly ill-tempered man’s name, the note said, “SOB.” Pam was completely taken aback. She knew this man was difficult on a good day, impossible on bad days; but why would any professional organization refer to a dying man as a “son of a bitch?”
With great compassion she crossed out SOB and wrote the word “difficult” beside it. Pam was furious at such a demonstration of disrespect, and later in the day she shared her disappointment of the choice of words with one of the nurses. The nurse started laughing; hysterically. Soon, the nurse was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her face. Again and again, the nurse tried to talk to Pam and failed as she dissolved into laughter.
Finally, Pam was able to get an explanation: in medical terms, SOB stands for “short of breath”.
Communication is like that. It either works or it doesn’t. A Course in Miracles has a lesson in which it acknowledges just that, “I have given everything all the meaning that it has for me.”
The SOB story is a PERFECT example of this. In one person’s world something can have a completely different meaning then another person’s world. Our perceptions can cause miscommunications within ourselves and with others.
Over the course of my life, I have learned that to be my authentic self I needed to develop a close, intimate relationship with, well… myself. Giving myself a good listening to helps me to reveal fears so I can address them, instead of pretending, avoiding and denying that they are not there. This honesty is essential for having an honest, connected and real relationship with myself.
Giving yourself a good listening to can reveal judgments, criticisms, beliefs and stories that are not true, but continue to keep you held in pain, fear, anger, struggle, etc. Awareness is essential to move you into making a new choice through a new understanding. That awareness can only come from the courage to engage in intimate communication with yourself. So, where in your life is communication working, and where does it need some help?