Thursday, July 1, 2021

Putting the Care into Communication

In essence, relationships are about communication and the effects that result therefrom. This applies from the lowliest quark interaction to grandest galactic interconnections. Somewhere in between, human relationships invoke the experience brought together by our minds and bodies.  When these complex systems interact, our lives may bloom or wither to varying degrees. 

Recognizing the human system as complex is important; millions of evolutionary years have gone into programming much of our base reactions. Nevertheless, we are not a prisoner to our natural origins; maturity in communication arises from learning and experience.  This does not mean maturity ignores base feelings; instead, it involves integrating emotional sensation and intellectual experience into the whole of being.

Feelings, in particular, may blind one in the moment. The desire to fight or take flight can be irresistible when negative feelings arise. Walking away for a short time may be the best action when emotions become overwhelming. Take a short period to reflect, and factor in your base and higher responses with what you perceive is meaningful to the other person. Don't let the fear of confrontation derail the process for too long, as such silences can suffocate the other in feelings of abandonment. Even leaving a note to indicate you care and just need some time to process can be a significant part of a mature initial response.  

Understanding your triggers and trying to understand those of your counterpart can be part of this contemplation. Whether a friendship or a romance is on the line, using deep empathy in the communication process can assist you to see the joy and pain potentials on both sides. Take this useful information and integrate it into conversation. Sometimes the communication method itself can be a trigger, as some people are less comfortable having such intense conversations in real time. An exchange of written thoughts can serve as an ice breaking mechanism. If your connection is purely online or remote, this may suffice, but ultimately the conversation should manifest as closely and as in-person as both parties feel comfortable. To that end, the ongoing relationship level reflection the mutuality that is desired on both sides.

Sometimes communication fails, usually derailing on one side. This effectively cuts the communication line, and can cause distress, especially for the one who feels they had no choice in it. Conscious or not, this is effectively a demonstration of power, not compassion. Ideally, a respectful resolution of issues between both parties is the desired outcome, permitting the relationship to continue or subsided. Alas, this isn't always the case, and an unresolved dispute may leave one or both people feeling hurt. When this type of impasse is reached one mature option could be to make a compassionate gesture wishing the other well. It may seem trite, but all can benefit if kindness gets the final word in a final farewell.

In the end, relationships are about sharing with those around us. If we share memes that are joyful and rational, the world will tend to copy and spread those good memes.  Each of us is part of and participant to the imperfect Universe, that we may wax within it with earnest intention. As such, our intentions have significant inertia to overcome and significant opportunity. If we make an effort to care and understand we will not only get better at it, we just might sway the hearts of others for the better as well.