COMMUNICATION: FILTERS AND BARRIERS
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could finally understand you? Imagine what it would be like to have all your thoughts and intentions perfectly understood, by everyone around you… all the time…
… your impatience at the grocery store… your frustration with your spouse’s eating habits… your envy of the successful neighbors…
…on second thought, maybe that doesn’t sound so great. But there’s got to be some kind of happy medium between too much communication and not enough.
Good news – there is!
The truth is all of us hold back when it comes to communicating with those around us. We keep hurtful thoughts to ourselves. We don’t tell people what we really think about their boring report or their weird haircut.
Luckily, this is a two-way street.
We choose what to say and make judgments on how to say it. We choose to show empathy and understanding when someone doesn’t look or do their best.
Real communication does not mean saying everything that pops into our heads. Not everything we think has value. Not every judgment we make should be shared.
Just like a water filter that keeps harmful contaminants out of our drinking water, we can have a communication filter that keeps hurtful or damaging ideas and thoughts out of circulation. Running your thoughts through a filter is the first step in creating clear, clean communication pathways.
Once you have a good filter in place you can work on eliminating the bigger barriers that interrupt those smooth running communication pathways. Think about how you communicate with those around you. Have you ever been guilty of putting up one of the following barriers?
Expressing strong dislikes of trivial things:
“I hate that song… it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”
Using words like “always” and “never”:
“You never do the dishes or clean up after yourself. I’m always picking up after you.”
“Oh?… Really?… That sounds great… Did I ever tell you about the time I lost my car keys?”
These seemingly insignificant barriers distance you from realizing deeper communication. Let’s rephrase the above examples in a way that eliminates the barriers and promotes connections:
“I’ve been hearing that song a lot lately. Tell me about the first time you heard it."
“I feel that you don’t appreciate the work I do around the house.”
“Lost keys? So frustrating… what did you do?”
What we’re striving for is a filter to keep our wildest, most hurtful thoughts to ourselves and at the same time eliminating barriers to the clear pathways of communication and connection that we all crave.
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