Communication is a near-constant state of activity -- almost like breathing. Internally, externally, vocal, physical, conscious, and subconscious are just a few of the ways we communicate with the outside world, and with ourselves. The ability to interact is vitally important, as it provides the means to express our wants, needs, beliefs, desires, preferences, and so much more. The problems many of us face, however, are the limitations we place on our ability to communicate freely and openly.
External communication, though it appears in a variety of forms, is quite direct. We are letting another know what we think/feel/want/prefer by our interaction with them. Often, we filter or limit this communication, not wanting to offend the other party. If the limit is borne from a maturity and understanding that 'our truth' is not necessarily the same as another's, and we are simply expressing something without venturing into, "I'm right and you're wrong" territory, then the filter or limitation may not entirely be negative. However, when we project potential feelings or reactions onto others and drastically filter or limit our communication with them, we are not being true to them, or ourselves.
A great example is that of the people-pleaser. Being one myself, I cannot fathom the amount of time I've taken editing and re-editing conversations in my mind before I even have them -- just to make sure no one is offended. I jump to all kinds of conclusions about how another will react or feel, before I've spoken a word. I manipulate my intention -- often forgoing my own want/need/preference -- in order to ensure that we all get along. Obviously, this is not a healthy habit to be in, and does a disservice to everyone involved; I don't fully communicate my point of view, and I leave the one to whom I am communicating with a confused or borderline false interpretation of my intention. Certainly, there are times when vagary and interpretation are necessary -- we can't expect everyone to always express exactly what they need all the time. However, limiting ourselves based on guesswork and assumption around the reaction of others stifles our ability to effectively communicate.
Internal communication problems present themselves in much more subtle ways. The person we'll have the longest and most important conversation and communication with in our lives is ourselves, yet we manage to find so many ways to either not listen to our inner voice, or let it run roughshod over everything we do (hello negative self-talk). We're all blessed with the gift of intuition -- our 'gut instinct' as it were. Many are perfectly able to follow that intuitive sense -- to listen to our unconscious communicating with us -- and make decisions with ease. Others, like myself, are hyper-analytical, and have a great deal of difficulty listening to, or even hearing in the first place, that inner voice.
Perhaps it is a self-confidence issue, some type of limiting belief, or simply a lack of trust in my instincts, but I seldom act on intuition alone. I find myself looking for excessive amounts of information, or over-analyzing every little detail rather than working towards a decision. Certainly, this level of analysis is not productive or effective; also, I'm not really listening to myself at this point -- I'm really looking for how 'wrong' I could be, or how much of a fool I might make of myself for listening to that voice. There are simply times I, and others, need to let go of the extensive analysis, and trust that our intuition is leading us down the best path. Even if it doesn't, as long as we learn from our mistakes, we can at least give ourselves credit for really listening to our inner communication.
Certainly, when the concept of goal setting comes to the fore, clear communication with ourselves is imperative. We need to forgo the filters and limits, the projections we place on others and how they will react, and be real with what we want. Maintaining a positive and productive line of inner communication will keep you on track and moving forward, with less downtime spent beating yourself up or playing the 'what if?' game of potential mistakes. Listen to your inner voice, be kind to it and yourself, and before long you'll find that the decisions you make and the life you're living are much more in line with how you truly want them to be.
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