I have always fancied myself a pretty great communicator. I thought the defining characteristics were fast head and even faster mouth, and in both categories, I scored off the charts. I didn’t really, in the whole communication game, ever consider the other person. For me, it was all about me, what I felt I needed to say and the clever way in which I would deliver the information. And if that wasn’t good enough, I believed that the person or people that were on the receiving end would know what I meant even if I didn’t say it quite properly or say it at all.
When I read those sentences now, it comes as no surprise to me that I am divorced. Now I am not saying that my marriage ended because of my inability to really communicate well, (there were a lot of extenuating circumstances), but I think that I am saying that the dissolution of any of the significant relationships in my life were well supported by my inability to be who I really was and speak honestly and courageously from the heart.
There were two fundamental components to effective communication that I clearly lacked: I just never believed that I needed to be responsibly engaged with myself when I communicated with another person; and I also never ever took the time to listen or really acknowledge, the importance of the other person with whom I was communicating. In other words, I was an irresponsible and immature communicator who perceived listening as an unecessary impediment to the consistent flow of my directive.
I’m happy to say that I no longer need to perceive myself as a great communicator, because I know, especially the closer that I am to the person, that I am not. I struggle sometimes with the right words to wrap around the emotions that I am feeling. I am not always so sure about my needs in any given situation and how I can ask them to be met. I am afraid sometimes that if I say out loud my dreams or desires that the expression of them might actually cause them to evaporate or the relationship to dissolve, ether-like into the universe.
And I know that not only are these appropriate awarenesses to have about myself; they are also better out than in. I’ve expressed out loud tonight in my most authentic voice possible because I would really like to become a better communicator. I have so many lovely gentle heart-felt things to say, and I want to be able to state them clearly and proudly to the people in my life that I really really love. And more importantly, to listen completely, fully engaged in the moment, to what they say back.
For me, it is within this back and forth exchange that I truly and completely experience the God of my understanding. I am upheld in relationship and it is a wispy, ephemeral joyousness that buoys me up, propels me forward, and inspires me over and over and over again to be the very best person I can be.