Have you ever had one of those experiences with someone close, where you have misunderstood that person’s intended message? Because we can’t get into someone else’s head and thought processes, we can therefore sometimes miss the ‘intention’ of the message. Our reaction to this misunderstanding leads us directly off our path forward, and sometimes we learn the very best of lessons along the way.
Miscommunication very often starts with a misalignment of the meaning of the message between two parties. Sometimes, our communication is straight forward and its meaning is easily recognised. For example “pass me the cookie”. On the other hand, some people express with hidden agendas and meanings, therefore the listener has to interpret between the lines.
Communication contains a variety of verbal and non-verbal inflections. Understanding what someone is communicating to you is also dependent on the baggage you carry around. You know, all that unfinished business. Your stuff.
We all have stuff, and it gets in the way of how we interpret messages. Why? Because our stuff provides us with a reactionary bias to situations.
In other words, our stuff, provides us with buttons to be pushed. Awesome right?!! Wrong!
What happens when our buttons are pushed?
We more often than not, react. And if it’s old stuff, or stuff that we can’t face, then we over-react. Some of us do that in spectacular fashion. Our heads get busy with a myriad of multiple interpretations of what has been said, in an effort to gain an understanding of what the heck was just said and “what did it all mean?”.
Our listening skills are vital to improve our ability to focus on what is really being said. Active listening, whereby we repeat what has been said to ensure we’ve correctly understood the intended message often supports clarification.
Using Kinesiology from a clinical perspective, I’m often reminding clients that our brains delete, misconstrue, and misinterpret according to filters (you know our stuff) – biases, triggers, assumptions, beliefs, and mental / emotional habits. It takes motivation and commitment, to face your stuff, learn your lessons and move forward on your journey path.
Reflection is a brilliant tool, where you get to jump out of that busy head of yours and attempt to gain understanding of what is going on with the other party. Sometimes this is a quick way to break down what might be going on for the other party, and gain an understanding of the other person’s stuff. This awareness and new found knowledge provide you with the opportunity to break down some barriers, and ignore the inner criticism which drives the fear of sorting out your old stuff.
Detach from taking everything personally. Often, the trigger words that have pushed your buttons is not about you, but it is your stuff which needs to be resolved. I suggest go within and explore, and one of the best places is in your journal. Writing out the stuff, lessens the overwhelming busy thoughts that can consume our perspective of the outside world.
Getting a hold on being able to respond versus reaction is the key. Your stuff can damage relationships if you can’t get a handle on your emotional intelligence – uncontrollable strong emotions, lack of self-control, or fear of letting go. Journaling is an exceptional tool to let go of garbage thoughts inside your head. Counselling or wellness coaching is also useful to explore why you react and the old stuff you are reacting to. You don’t have to journey alone. Be careful about constantly debriefing with a friend, because if you get stuck, you can wear the friendship thin.
Give people time to defuse from their triggered reaction. There are times when empty space does not need to be filled. Allow the other party to process rather than filling the dark void. The dark place is often where the negative outlook resides, so be sure to shine your light brightly.
Where possible utilise the feedback sandwich. At various points in our life, we need to provide others with negative feedback. Avoidance of these types of conversations just intensifies the negative trigger.
Take time out to cool your jets. Sometimes gifting yourself a deep breath and some time to sit with your thoughts and feelings, gifts you space to process the old stuff and let it go once and for all.
Remember you can choose to change and bloom from within as you embrace your stuff and move forward along your journey path.