Communication, verbal and nonverbal, is so critical in marriage and relationships. I always thought that Adam and I had great communication even when we participated in therapy. But somewhere along the way, we actually stopped communicating about meaningful issues and emotions. We lived through everyday moments without actually being present to them and talking about them.
Sometimes people overlook the importance of truly being authentic in how we communicate with one another. I think one of my weaknesses, Grace, is that I let people in my head. I really share with them what I think. I’ve realized, at times, that gets me into a bit of trouble. They get to know whom I really am yet hide behind their own masks. When this happens they know my buttons, vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses.
I also realized that I tend to ignore the nonverbal communication. I deny what may be my gut feelings and intuition because I’m afraid–perhaps, afraid of the truth. Why is it that I’m willing to communicate verbally, but when it comes to nonverbal communication, I want to close my eyes?
How can I get people to take off their masks? I want to communicate and have a reciprocal interaction with others. And how can I begin to open my eyes to other ways of communicating? Adam obviously stopped communicating to me and I ignored his nonverbal communication.
Guiding Lesson: Eve, communication has so many layers and is ever evolving and changing. It is an art, a thirst, a desire that all civilizations have tried to understand and master. Even the great teachers continue to practice, learn and discover new ways of communicating with every new generation. In fact, you are living in the age of communication where people are using tools that never existed before and the norms are not yet clear.
Eve, one of your greatest strengths is communication. You are articulate, eloquent and have the ability to inspire others. Your communication style is very honest, has integrity and exudes respect. Your desire to share yourself is not a bad thing. The question is, does the depth of your communication align to the depth of your relationship? Not everyone will value and appreciate the essence of who you are, nor do they deserve you sharing such a priceless piece of you. If you filter what you say based on the level of the relationship, then you are being vulnerable with the right people who will be able to reciprocate in turn. This is not about quantity but quality. And you will feel much safer sharing your true self.
Now regarding non-verbal communication, this is even more complex because 7% is verbal and 93% is non-verbal (vocal and body movements). So paying attention to this is very important. I will share some resources on Facebook and Twitter because there are a lot of things to consider.
However, your question as to why you ignore the non-verbal will be something I recommend you take time to uncover. You mentioned you might be afraid of the truth. So here are some questions:
1. What truth are you trying to avoid dealing with that particular person?
2. Do you believe that if you do not acknowledge it then it doesn’t exist?
3. Do you even have the energy to deal with it?
4. How serious is the truth that you are ignoring?
5. If you don’t address it, will it become bigger in three months, six months or one year?
6. Being such a strong, honest and open communicator (verbal and non-verbal), is it a foreign concept that others would say one thing and mean another? This is not your style so is this a foreign language you don’t want to learn because it does not align with your values?
7. Since non-verbal is very abstract and subjective, how do you determine what is real and is there anything the receiver is projecting onto the communicator?
Eve, communication is the key to healthy relationships. If misused, it can destroy someone like a sword. You can’t change how others will use it, but you can continue to live with integrity and maybe, just maybe someone will dance the same dance with you. I will join in the dance with you.