How something so fundamental as humans talking with each other can so often be mysterious.
When I composed this sub-heading, I wasn’t sure of what word to use to end the sentence. Some of the words that sped through my mind were: complex, distorted, difficult, obtuse and …. well, you get the message.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have once said!
Today’s essay on the challenges of speaking clearly to another, perhaps better described as communicating in a clear and unambiguous fashion, came out of a recent conversation with Jon Lavin, a good friend from my Devon days. (Jon offers services for business owners and entrepreneurs under his business banner of The People Workshop.)
Jon was explaining that the number one hurdle for businesses that are managing change, and for so many businesses managing change is practically a constant, is having clear communications within the team.
Seems clear enough to me! 😉
Yet, what we hear and what we say are both modified, frequently unconsciously, by past events, experiences and trauma. That being the case, then it is key, critically so, that we achieve the best possible self-awareness. Because it is only through an understanding of our past that we come to learn of our sensitivities and our associated ‘tender spots’ and their potential for ‘pulling our strings’. Here’s a personal story.
In 1956, when I was 12, I experienced a trauma that was interpreted by my consciousness as emotional rejection. By the age of 14 that sensitivity to rejection had descended into my subconscious. For fifty years, that sensitivity remained hidden yet continued to influence my life in many unseen ways, not all of them negatively by a long measure. In 2007 a period of counselling revealed that hidden emotional rejection; brought it to the surface. It changed beyond imagination how I felt, how I behaved, how I was. Nonetheless, that sensitivity to rejection is still there, albeit now visible. Thus when I hear or experience something that tickles that sensitivity I still react. But because I can now see and feel myself reacting, I can sidestep the emotional strings.
The following is a short, twenty-minute, documentary film about fear. Do watch it. The message that we are so profoundly a product of our past is beautifully presented.