I've been inspired for the last number of months to think about the concept of connection in a much deeper way than I've ever explored. We all crave connection, but what does it mean to really 'connect' with someone else -- or yourself for that matter? My exploration is still a work-in-progress, though I feel I've discovered enough that I'd like to share with all of you; over the next three weeks, I'm going to look at the different 'layers' to connection I feel have the most importance. This week? Communication.
Communication is vital. We are a social species, and communicate with each other in a myriad of ways. When we're closed off from communication, we suffer and wither, to no one's surprise. Communication is that first point of contact we have with another person -- a look (non-verbal), a "hello" (verbal), a handshake (physical). Openness is invited through connection -- our energy is focused on another, and allows us to begin opening up to theirs. Without dialogue -- spoken, written, or otherwise -- we are not able to learn more about others, and begin to form any kind of connection.
We also communicate internally, through our personal language or self-talk. Whilst different than talking to another, the communication is not less vital. If we do not communicate with ourselves, we are essentially letting our programming take over, and not meaningfully engaging as agents in our lives. We continue to passively choose patterns, habits, and beliefs that may not serve us, because we do not open an inner dialogue up about them. Some may chuckle at the notion of sitting and talking to yourself, but if you're not comfortable doing it (out loud or internally), creating awareness becomes incredibly difficult. We need to check in with ourselves the same way we check in with another person to find out how they're feeling; not only asking questions of ourselves, but speaking in a manner that aligns with who we want to be and how we want to be perceived.
I feel strongly that communication -- internally, or to another -- need be direct and clear. None of us are mind-readers, and so we need to be confident in asking for what we want -- from others as well as ourselves. There's a kind of beauty in bluntness, as it leaves nowhere for falsehood to hide, and can best communicate and relay our intention. When we 'muddy the waters' through general and ambiguous language, we suffer from mixed messages and questions.
Communication invites openness, and breeds vulnerability -- the subject of next week's Web Wednesday. In the meantime, ask yourself these questions about communication, and think about how clearly you're relating to others and yourself:
1) Am I greeting others in the way I want to be perceived? (ie. warm, inviting, approachable)
2) What kind of language do I speak to myself with, and does it serve me?
3) Do I clearly relay my intention to myself and others, or do I rely on more vague language -- potentially as an excuse or an 'out'?