What we say matters. Words are so powerful. They can bouy, heal, caress, transport, and more. Incredible harm can also be done if our words project anger, hate, or cruelty. Language has been used as a tool over time to massage malleable minds, coerce followers for untold political agendas, fuel far away wars, promote fear or hate, and oppression.
Think about the following as you consider your words and actions. Do you recall your first love? Your first really good job or paycheck? Your final goodbye to someone who holds your heart whether through death, long distance, or a broken relationship? How did those memories make you feel? What actions did you take as you walked through those feelings?
Words can work magic, create myths, spread rumors, and shape our collective cosmos for mankinds greater good. What we say to one another matters nowadays more than ever before. Our society has become hyper-sensitive. Mindful communication invites us to listen from far below the surface and find what rings true for us. This skill is strengthened by our self awareness.
Language and words are complex. Ideals, emotions, beliefs, education, social status, gender, and life experiences play a role in the communication process because they are the lens through which we communicate. There are times when we do not communicate wisely or listen as well as we should. Becoming proficient at both can create better relationships personally and professionally. Conversely, working through misunderstandings can be humbling and liberating. Everyone makes mistakes. It is how we move onward from that point that enables us to gain confidence and life experiences not to repeat them.
Texting has become a communication gateway for today’s youth and even much of the older generations. Texting is flawed because it does not depict the intention of the sender or receiver, both of which are critical foundational frameworks toward complete understanding of one another. In face to face exchanges we are able to focus our attention on one another or find common threads to our understanding of one another or the situation at hand. We can readily observe body language, eye, hand and head movement and other gestures and emotions in these face to face conversations that are not available via text.
Conversations contain a number of elements and emotions that are lacking entirely when simply texting. For instance, empathy, sympathy, intention, perception, and most importantly, attention on the other. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could glean the deeper understanding of words spoken or written and actions regardless of what was said or done? If we had the ability to truly look into the other persons heart and feel what they are searching for we could bind disjointed communities, enable peace to spread across the world, and mend our closest relationships, but alas most of us cannot.
Think about your needs and values. Has society or your role in it shaped those needs or values? What matters most to you? How do you convey those needs to another? Probably via conversation in some form or faction. Realize that all things we do are done to meet a specific need and that those needs and our actions on their behalf can change over time as we embark on personal growth and self actualization. Identifying those core needs and values in ourselves and others is a powerful place to begin our self awareness journey.
Taking time to breakdown the reasons behind our emotions and actions can be exasperating and satisfying. Knowing what triggers our behaviors and actions can help us get our needs met. Are you ready to take this journey?
Sofer, Oren Jay. Say What You Mean. Shambhala Press. 2019. 286 pgs.