Communication helps us learn balance. If we just take a little time to look at the environment we live in, we see there is balance. That means there is a give and take that helps maintain the flow of ideas and understanding. For instance, when talking to a friend your conversation isn’t all one of you talking while the other is always listening; at least I hope not. Even a nod or a quiet “yes” can help to keep the conversation going. We learn that in a conversation we communicate in many different ways. A nod, a look, a grunt, a touch, a sigh, there are many ways to communicate a thought or a feeling from one person to one another. The point is that there is always a balancing that occurs. Through that balance, we gain awareness of the thought processes that helps us understand ourselves better. We also understand others a little better. This doesn’t mean we understand what the other person is thinking, we only get an abstract sketch to attempt to understand what their thoughts are. Remember, however, many times they don’t know what their thoughts are.
We can cause joy or anger by merely saying one or two words that we know will elicit the response we are looking to get. Husbands and wives sometimes use this method to start an argument, or produce intimacy. A statement that would not affect most people will all of a sudden cause great rage in others. Living closely with another person provides us with the keys to unlock complete anxiety or tremendous joy. If the statement is wrongly perceived as being mean spirited, a great deal of explaining will probably be necessary to calm the angst that may flare-up.
If we take the time to look at what makes our emotions take control of our otherwise rational and peaceful demeanor, we could possibly see that it is communication that causes our outburst or loving meltdown. It is the communication from outside of us, yes, but it is also the communication from inside of us, or what we say to ourselves. What we believe to be true whether it is true or not. If we have a balance from within, we can, sometimes, view the data we receive from others from more than one vantage point. If we can master this, we can help ourselves grow by expanding our view of our environment and the people and things within it.
Try this, read the following statement: “Sometimes I just don’t understand what you are thinking.” What does that mean to you? Does it mean that the person is always making mistakes? Does it mean the person speaking is baffled by the intelligence of the other person? Or, does it mean the person speaking’s the mind doesn’t work the same way the other person’s mind works? Think about it for a few minutes. What other possibilities can you think of? Is it possible to take hurt from the statement, or just as easily take joy from the same statement? It all depends on what is happening to you internally. If you are balanced you can take in the statement, analyze it, and determine what effect it has on you; all in a couple of seconds.
Using the balance that can be found in how we communicate can determine the response that is given to the original statement. Will the statement lead to an argument or will it lead to a kiss? Or will an argument lead to a kiss?
Balance… …most people don’t stay angry for long. What if we always communicated happiness and joy? Can humans survive without something to balance that? Can there be light without darkness, love without hate? The very act of communication provides us with the meaning of each of these things, yet we struggle to understand each other.
Communication is our foundation, but communication needs balance to continue the motion of learning and growth.
### ? Professor Marvell Lawson is an author, professional speaker, and communication coach who works with individuals and organizations wanting to improve their speech preparation and presentation skills; and communicate more effectively to grow their business, make more money, and build personal and professional credibility. Prof. M is an Affiliate Professor lecturing on Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and Organizational Communication and Development. Visit my website at www.centerforinformationdesign.com