“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” –Doug Larson
I recently had an important document go into my spam folder after increasing the war against junk mail. That same week I had a breakdown in communication with a client about payment, which we finally sorted out after several attempts to clarify her wishes. We laughed, as we realized how we had misinterpreted what the other had said, even though we both felt certain we knew what was meant. We stuck with it though, and there was no blame—simply the recognition that there had been a misunderstanding.
I communicate for a living, and my work is very focused on helping people communicate clearly and respectfully—-yet I still have such breakdowns. It’s just the way of life, as we all live in our own individual worlds intersecting energetically, and often “crossing wires” in our electro-magnetically charged universe.
Every day in my office, I observe couples sending messages to each other that are received as spam. What a wife says to her husband is received as “unsolicited or undesired electronic messages,” which is one definition of spam.
I see women receiving what their husbands say as “a canned pork or meat product,” the other definition of spam.
It isn’t pretty, and neither person is happy.
Communication Latin communicare = to share. One person shares with another that which is inside them. There is also the word “care” in communicare. To share with care. This can make all the difference!
The American psychologist Abraham Maslow, introduced the idea of a hierarchy of needs, as well as a theory of psychological health based fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.
You’ll notice that safety is right above physiological needs, and below Love and belonging. We will not feel as if we belong and are worthy of love if we do not feel safe.
The world we live in right now is a dangerous enough place that requires us to take special care to create safety in our communications with one another.
The wife nagging her husband in the kitchen while he attempts to help, communicating her exasperation that he doesn’t know where things are—is being aggressive and triggering his brain, all below the level of conscious awareness.
He leaves and does his own thing, and she feels abandoned. He doesn’t seem to care.
The man dismissing making important financial decisions even though he and his wife agreed to check in with each other about money matters, and then dismissing her frustration that she was not consulted, is passive-aggressive.
She doesn’t trust him and loses interest in sex. He doesn’t seem to care.
The are parents both on their devices while their children watch on their separate i-pads, on a Friday family night. No one seems to care.
“To be able to listen — really, wholly passively, self-effacingly listen — without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling with what is being said, without rehearsing the rebuttal in advance, without free-associating to portions of what is being said so that succeeding portions are not heard at all — such listening is rare.” Abraham Maslow
I would say that such listening is on the endangered species list in this world right now. Everything is up for discussion, and truth-tellers are a rare breed. People don’t make distinctions between what is happening and their story about what is happening. Teachers like Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Carolyn Myss, and many others, are calling on us to keep our eyes open and shift out of the trance.
If you would like to read about the key components to being a really good listener, as well as a really caring sender, read my blog, Under The Influence Of Love.
Each of us had the responsibility to do our part to lift those in our world up so that they feel loved and know that they belong. Esteem, of self and other, as well as country, begins to grow—and we all know that needs to happen fast. One being who has found his or her way to self- actualization can lift up thousands by his or her very beingness.
Listen well. Speak with care—as if you have an angel in your throat. These are simple things that make all the difference.