Why is it so hard to communicate between us?

We think our communication is perfectly clear and sometimes we are surprised that our communication didn’t exactly come across the way we intended it to. We apparently speak the same language, so why is communication so hard with certain people?

Communication issues are a leading cause of conflicts between people.

 

The reason is:

 

Between:

– What I think …
– What I mean …
– What I think I say …
– What I am saying …
– What you want to hear …
– What you think you hear …
– What you hear …
– What you want to understand …
– What do you think you understand …
– What you understand …

There are ten possibilities for us to have trouble communicating, but … let’s try anyway!

Edmond Wells   (Encyclopedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge).

 

But what creates miscommunication?

 

Every second, we are bombarded by thousands of bits of information. The conscious mind is unable to process such large amount of data. Our brains use filters to sort through the information to determine what to retain and what to “disregard” (the information considered irrelevant goes into a large database that is our subconscious mind). These filters depend largely on our experience, education, values ​​and beliefs, attitude towards life and even the mood of the moment. You’ve probably noticed when you were tired you had a more negative outlook on people and things or you were more prone to make mistakes. That is an example of these filters in action. They taint the information perceived by the brain, distort it, we see meaning where there is none. The filters are like fingerprints, they’re unique to us.

Our 5 senses capture information coming from the outside world and then send that information to the brain. The 5 senses are directly connected to the cortex, the emotional brain. The emotional reaction is therefore faster than the rational thinking of the neo-cortex (rational brain). All this happens in a split second without our conscious awareness.

 

What to do about this?

 

It may not be possible to self reflect while you’re going through a trigger. I would advise to take some time afterward to bring your awareness to your reactions and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did I interpret what was said or done? What did I understand about what was said or done?
  • If a camera were to film this scene, what would it record in terms of actions or words? Remember that a camera cannot know the thoughts, intentions and emotions of the actors in the scene (either yours or theirs). If you still feel emotional after the first try, move the camera further away from the scene and/or put a plexiglass wall between the characters and the camera. Make sure you are seeing the scene through the camera lens and not through your own eyes.

How do you know the exercise is done correctly? When you no longer feel emotional – or at least to a lesser degree – when you think of the scene. You are then able to perceive things more objectively, think rationally and come up with solutions.

The camera exercise will help you bring more awareness to your automatic responses. Awareness is the first step to change. The more aware you are of your triggers and automatic responses, the more freedom you gain, the freedom to choose how to react in any situation.

Train your mind not to attach meaning that may cause conflicts. Do you want to be right or do you want to have a harmonious relationship? The more you can be present in the communication and truly hear and listen, the deeper your relationship and trust in one another.

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