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Why We Fail at Communicating

Communication is not the answer

Communication is not the answerOkay, this may be a somewhat subversive post, so get ready!

When we are frustrated with attempts at communication, it is generally because we have failed to adequately persuade others of our point of view. We don’t generally get frustrated because we wish we could understand someone else more or because we want to listen to another person more deeply. We are angry because other people do not understand us. We approach communication with a hope that at the end of it we will “get our needs met.” Our basic communication has not changed much since we were two years old. “I want”. “I want more attention. I want more sex. I want you to listen to me. I want to feel special. I want help with the housework and/or children. I want you to respect me more. I want you to behave in a certain way so that I feel better.” You could change the word “want” to the word “need”, but the meaning is pretty much the same. I want you to do something so that I feel better. We have all been told that it is up to us to clearly communicate what we need from our partners, friends, etc. and that we shouldn’t expect people to read our minds.

This kind of communication objectifies the other person.

We turn the other person into an object that is supposed to make us feel better and meet our needs. The great mammary gland in the sky. A combination of the mother we wish we had had and Santa Claus. Communication means sharing. I have a point of view and the other person has a point of view. They are different because we are two different people. Let us start any communication with respect for ourselves and respect for the other person. We all have needs and we all have expectations. These demand our attention.   I am not telling you to ignore these things. But I am saying that before we communicate let us ask ourselves if we have anything worthy of communicating. And let us ask ourselves if we are open to receive another person’s point of view. Are we willing to consider another point of view as just as valid as our own?

If you want to stop communicating for awhile that is a very valid choice!

We can stop trying to please ourselves and/or others. We can just be silent and receive the gifts life has for us. (Or we can be silent and feel pain and discomfort, if that is our current situation.) We can appreciate what we already have. When our hearts are full, we can smile at our beloved. We can reach over and hold hands. We can share.