A great deal of our communication is nonverbal, and we rarely realize the impact that is has on others. Our tone of voice, our body language (particularly our eyes and face), our attitudes, and our feelings are constantly in communication with others, expressing anger, fear, love, trust, rejection, in short, all our emotions. We cannot hide what we mean; we may do so for a while, but the truth eventually emerges.
In order to communicate clearly, the primary step is silence : that is, the ability to listen.
In addition to listening, communication is also about sharing, understanding, and enjoying what the other has to offer. Genuine communication heals and nurtures. Communication is not just with others, but also with the self, with God, and even with nature. Being still, focused, and open enables us to tune in to others so that we can respond in an appropriate and meaningful way, not simply in a mechanical way.
What are the blocks to positive communication? When I communicate, do I reflect, or deflect what I mean? Is what I am communicating clear, or confused to others?
Here are some common reasons for blocks to communication :
- A plethora of thoughts, words, and actions sends us into overload. As a result, we are unable to think clearly because we lose the essence of what is trying to be conveyed through a jumble and jungle of thoughts and words.
- Being too lost in our own emotions or ideas. When this happens, we do not listen attentively to others.
- Remembering the past in a negative way. This does not allow me to tune in properly to my present and my future. When I cannot communicate properly with the needs of the present time, then I lose current opportunities.
- Lack of sincerity. When my thoughts and feelings are honest and respectful, then the hearts of others will open to me. A positive highway of trust will be built to enable communication to flow positively.
- Negative perceptions and feelings about others, how I visualize someone or how I label them. Negative feelings, no matter how well hidden, are always eventually communicated to others on a subtle, nonverbal level. When this silent language is spoken and caught, it creates an atmosphere of tension and uneasiness.
- Not letting go of negative perception and feelings. This creates tension in communication. The only method to renew my relationship with others is to let go of negativity on a daily basis, to prevent it from building up. Far too often, the buildup happens without us even noticing it and, in one moment, we wonder why positive feedback is not forthcoming.
- Lack of silence. To go deep into myself and put my thoughts and feelings into the quarantine of silent relaxation defuses anger and the blame and complaints that often go with it.
What are the ways to improve communication?
- Listen with both I should be an active listener by tuning in fully and being fully present with the person and with the moment. If I am not, I listen through one ear and let it out of the other, or I only half listen, which inevitably creates misunderstandings.
- Understand where the other person is coming from. Do not just assume, imagine, or judge; when we do this, our critical vision inhibits others from expressing what they wish to say. Then, because of wrong or half-right assumptions, others are not given the possibility to move, or express, outside my imposed frame of reference. To give others a true chance to express themselves, I must not place my own frames around them.
- Think before speaking. This is not something new; but however often we hear it, we forget to apply it. To think before speaking means to show consideration to the other, and then we say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.
- Say what you mean, always. When you speak with courage and a calm self-confidence without force, then communication is honest, open, clear, and trusted. Courage doesn’t mean to say what you think others want to hear. If you lack courage because of the need for approval and acceptance, or because of a lack of confidence, then communication and the consequent relationship remain superficial and artificial. No one feels satisfied with this situation.
- Learn the language of silence. It is the basis of right intention, positive feelings, and clear attitudes. In this language, there is only one grammar : honesty and kindness. Honesty creates clarity, and kindness creates respectfulness.
When we take time to reflect on our level of communication with everyone we meet, the realizations we have in silence will ne manifested in the higher quality and ease in interaction that we will find in all relations, be it with the self, with others or with the Supreme Source of light.