I am noticing some subtle changes in myself. I have not always been a great communicator. Much of my life is played out in my head, which is part of the reason I’m here doing this. To literally get out of my own head. And when I do get out of my head and actually share I have a tendency to only deliver bits of the story. And these bits are usually not the key pieces that need to be shared in order to help the person receiving the information get the whole picture.
So when the receiver gets only half the story and comes at me harshly, I immediately get defensive. Like, “How dare you not know what’s going on behind the scenes in my head?!” I’m not even really listening to what the person is even trying to tell me. This is not an effective form of communication, just saying. And it usually ends up in a heated argument.
So I did it again today and I was called on it. But this time as I listened fully to the receiver who had legitimately gotten only a portion of the story, I recognized that I failed to do my part in the communication model. So I explained myself. And I was not defensive. I simply filled in some very important gaps and the receiver then had the full picture and a much cleaner understanding of the situation. DEFCON 1 avoided. Phew.
So apparently I am learning to listen and to be accountable for my part in miscommunication. A key part of being a good communicator is not just about being able to have a discussion, but it’s really about listening to the other person without a million of your own thoughts trampling your ability to hear what’s being said to you. It’s also about taking responsibility for your part of what went wrong, but not beating yourself up for it either.
When I was a kid, I was a great listener. But I believe it’s because I felt I had nothing to say. Then years later when I did have something to say, I was so anxious to get it out that I only delivered part of the story, while the rest of it continued to play out in my head. It stopped me from listening and increased the need to be heard.
But my voice is not any more important than anyone else’s. All of our voices need to be heard. It was nice to hear mine being used in a constructive way today and I felt good that I didn’t take the passive aggressive shitty route in an attempt to save my ego and a false need to defend myself.
I like where I’m headed and hope the progress continues. It’s starting to feel really good.