Monday, July 4, 2011

The Art of Ever-evolving Communication Skills

"Toolbox" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2000 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

What do we do when a person close to us just doesn’t “get it”? This includes the self to others, not just a “victim” perspective of what “others are doing to me….” When conflict arises, do we immediately get angry, personalize, feel victimized by or fall into the cesspool of blame in order to gain back control or feel bulletproof from a perceived attack?

One question to ask the self: “Is this about me at all?”

Might we consider that another’s pain one day, has nothing at all to do with us? Could it be, that it is just a challenging moment, between a person and the world however he sees it? If coming from love, can we see that the only necessary response may be “I understand, and just trust, it will get better…”

Could we also consider that perhaps what one needs from a loved one, is a skill that he/she has not yet been taught? Perhaps, he/she hasn’t had the need to learn it before now. Maybe if they/or I, had the tool, had learned how to use it we’d be more than willing to use that tool with a loving intent to bring comfort to those painful moments, instead of grasping and waving around the only tools available to us in the toolbox….

To illustrate, how does one to expect to receive the compassion he needs from those close, when compassion is not one of the tools in their toolbox? The ability to have compassion simply isn’t there. How does one expect to have stresses met with calming and neutral reassurance, when emotions and drama were the lifeblood hook of prior relationships, and one has learned to respond with “shields up, load blame, fire….” If one has never been taught, or had the need to learn – how could one reach for that tool of reassurance and use it, when it isn’t even in the box?

And really, wouldn’t we use it if we had it and knew how?

Not possessing the tool or knowing how to use it does not excuse one from being civil, especially in those difficult moments. Basic human respect is built into us, and eroded away by years of self-protection in an uncivilized family, community, country, planet….still, it is our birthright to know how to respect another, and willful misconduct if we don’t. We are seeded to have choice for it to be different.

Our potential to be kind first, will dictate how a person will react - even under the worst moments. That respect and yearning to give and receive true love is hard-wired into us, even though we may be out of practice due to environment, challenging childhoods, hateful adults, mindless behavior….

It is said that the true strength of a relationship is tested when things are challenging, not when things are fun or moving forward with ease. So we all have the personal responsibility to grow our toolbox…to fill it to overflowing with tools that empower, not break down – that say I’m sorry, not “you said…” We can stock our toolbox with tools that are driven by kindness first and join together to find solutions as team, not use the blunt force trauma of blame – and to replace hate, with love, love, love.

Our truest wealth lives here, in this understanding. Time to clean out our toolbox.

--dar freeland

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