Community for Understanding and Healing
Communication That Makes A Difference
Do you ever find yourself talking and not being heard? Be honest… do you ever find yourself listening to someone but not really hearing what they are saying? Effective communication is very difficult today. Husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, neighbor and neighbor… we don't know how to talk and listen to each other.
Our Kirkwood community has a lot of talking and even more listening that needs to be done. In the aftermath of the shootings on February 7th, there are many emotions moving through our community. In addition, there are many hard decisions needing to be made. How will we share our emotions? How will we make the right decisions?
The fact is, people have many points of view with contrasting agendas that are deep seated and entrenched. This is coupled with a sense of self-rightness and pride. It's no wonder we have so much difficulty communicating. The lack of effective communication is the cause of most problems today.
How can we communicate our emotions and values to make a difference for a greater good?
Some people just don't communicate well and are not "open" to conversation with other people.
Other people speak of practicing Open Communication. This is where two or more parties sit at a table and listen to each other. But too often this so called "Open Communication" is in reality a time when the involved parties are only "waiting their turn" to project their own agenda. At the heart of this so called "Open Communication" is an unwillingness to risk trusting the other or being vulnerable and available for real change. Open Communication often turns hopeful participants into frustrated and entrenched adversaries.
Reflective Communication is a style of communication that enters a dialogue with respect and dignity for self and the other. It acknowledges that each party has treasured values that support specific agenda. Unlike "Open Communication", Reflective Communication enters into dialogue with trust and a commitment to change and be changed because the present is just too untenable for all parties.
Reflective Communication requires a commitment to listen in such a way that each party risks altering its values for a greater good. This occurs through listening and reflecting on what is heard in such a way that new thinking is allowed, accepted, and integrated.
This is very hard work because it is not just an intellectual exchange of ideas, but a time of personal growth that changes one's heart and alters one's values. Positive results from Reflective Communication (or any communication for that matter) will not occur unless the preferred future is more compelling than the present.
We must improve our communication if we expect to see change…
that will bring about our preferred future.