Omgeezers! Even now as I’m into my seventh decade, I still have so much to learn!
Despite having a university diploma in both French and English literature … despite having studied languages … despite the study of English grammar being my absolute favourite suject in elementary school … despite having worked for a news company as a writer … despite having been both writer and editor for a women’s magazine … despite having learned sign language … despite having learned to elicit communication from people who have verbal communication challenges … despite being a certified network facilitator … despite having taken too numerous to count courses about autism (a communication disorder) and on alternative, adaptive, and augmentative communication … despite having been published in a reputable journal, or two … despite having made numerous presentations in front of small to huge audiences — despite all these things, it seems I have much to learn about how to communicate well.
I.am.up for it! Bring.it.on!
Today, I find myself contemplating how I communicate positive assumptions.
My preference is for written communication — somehow, the process of choosing and organising the written word appeals to my love for both detail and order. The challenge for me then becomes figuring out how to communicate not only from my head, but also from my heart.
I learned long ago that there are three keys to my communicating well an important message:
- considering carefully how to convey the message, regardless if it is celebratory or challenging in nature
- contemplating the intended outcome of my message (always focusing on the positive), before formulating my message, and
- empathising with the receiver of my message, while anticipating and believing that the receiver will know my heart, and will respond, rather than react — i.e. making positive assumptions, first, always.
It seems I have the first two keys down. The first half of the third key, also pretty much nailed. Where I obviously need work is in the second half of key number three. I’m learning that people with whom I am communicating often do not know my heart! False assumption on my part.
Over the past several decades, I have tirelessly (well, maybe not exactly tirelessly) used my gifts and strengths and capacities to do what I can to nurture strong, healthy community. I have done this at both micro and macro levels. (Is there some level in-between micro and macro? If so, I have done that, too.) I’ve even received a Commemmorative Medal, in recognition of the work I’ve done in community, for which I feel deeply honoured. I feel privileged to have touched many lives, including those of people I don’t know, people I don’t know well, people I know fairly well, and people I know intimately well. And, yet, there are so many people who just do not know my heart.
I have just this week discovered that I spend a lot of energy looking past what often presents at face value as assumption, or judgment, or negativity, or even a jump to an erroneous conclusion. I prefer, instead, to look into others’ potential … believing in who they are authentically — that they have the capacity to understand my message and know my heart — rather than anticipating that, instead of a response (a conversation), I shall get a reaction. This, I think, is energy well spent!
I’m not so sure that others spend much time doing this.
I realize that it may be an uncommon thing … while communicating with others, to consider first the best in a person … to believe in the potential of the other person … to believe that, just as I do not judge others but expect only the best of others, others will do the same for me.
So, my newest challenge is to work on the back half of key number three … to learn how to communicate well what is in my heart, because I do not want to give up on my beliefs …
- that others have the capacity to respond to a message, rather than to react
- that others will know my heart and believe that I want only to contribute, to do good and to make a positive impact, and
- that others will recognise my servant heart and my desire to nurture strong, healthy community, whether this be in my home and with my immediate family, with my extended family, with my group of friends, in my business, in our City, our Province, or even in our Country.
Much work to do! And I’m up for it! I hope I can count on you to help me!!