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February

2012

 
Internal Prejudice

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

Feature Article 

  No time? Listen to the  podcast (8:35 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.

 

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links

 

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Internal Prejudice
(click for podcast)

 

Hierarchies

Our less-than-conscious communication takes place both internally and externally. What we rarely think about is the unbreakable relationship between the two. As in most things in our physical world, an event is usually followed by its repercussions, in the way a pebble hits the water and ripples emanate outward. The way we talk to ourselves internally invariably affects the way we talk to others externally. Those ripples keep going as the way we talk to others then affects them, and they in turn affect others in their surroundings, and so on.

So let’s start with that first pebble. Internally, we often insult or berate ourselves when we make mistakes or forget something. This becomes a kind of “normal” way for us to react, and we don’t think twice about doing this when others make mistakes or forget things. This is only one example of how this dynamic works. However, if we add a little consciousness to the mix, we can make an enormous difference in our external communications by how we talk to ourselves.

Take motivation for example. It’s more common for us to kick ourselves in the butt than to ask ourselves for something nicely. We don’t have evidence that being a “drill sergeant” is necessary or even useful, so let’s look at one of the roots of this phenomenon.

Almost every one of us is taught from early childhood that our primary way of taking in and processing the world around us is either wrong or somehow inferior to someone else’s way. Although we're born with our own primary processing center (in its own way quite perfect) external indoctrination sets up a hierarchy, and in the majority of cases puts your natural way down a notch or two. This is what I’m calling internal prejudice.

A very common example of this would be the hierarchy that states: “clear, detached thinking is better than emotional feelings.” Someone who is feelings-centric can be convinced that their “pain” is a result of their chaotic feelings, and that they “should” control these feelings with detached thinking. Two problems arise with this: a self-denigrating program is put in place, and it doesn’t work.

Either in rebellion or from a stronger sense of self, a faction of feelings-centric processing types will assert feelings over thinking in a different hierarchy. Their rationale will usually invoke authenticity, presence, and a sense of unique identity.

This is the familiar “flaky-artist versus the robot” argument, and we haven’t even introduced the intuitive, gut-driven, “I just know it” people. Three variables (heart, brain, gut) increase our possible combinations to nine hierarchies. There’s clear thinking over feelings, and then intuition, intuition over feelings, and then thinking, etc. These hierarchies that we’ve put in place are nothing more than belief systems about our own ways of processing.



Limitations or Resources
How we regard aspects of ourselves in hierarchy; judging, rating, and so on, is an extremely limiting belief system. It fragments us, rather than working toward integration, and it sets up needless inner conflict, where cooperation would serve us better.

We all have at least two of these processing centers naturally (usually all three) and they each take in different information. The free flow of that information without judgment from one part of you over another part offers you a fuller, richer experience. Your decisions can be better (more informed) and you can take action more easily, without the internal filibustering and power struggles.

The difference between these extremes of limitations or resources is entirely dependent on your belief. You are ultimately in charge of this. If you believe cool, detached thinking is a superior form of processing, or the opposite, you’ll set up internal conflict and filter the information coming in. If you acknowledge each of your processing centers as taking in its own forms of information, all equally valid, you eliminate the internal conflict, and take in much more information. You fully use your own resources.


Equal But Not Separate
Another way to look at these different processing centers taking in and processing different information would be comparing them to light or sound. There are frequencies that are below and above our capacity to observe them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there or aren’t valid and important. Emotional information, including empathy, feelings, and so on is processed differently than the logical, linear data our brains are equipped to process. Likewise, our gut intuition is neither logical, nor a feeling, but more of a sensory experience. This doesn’t devalue the information. We just need to add all three kinds of information together to get a complete picture. No one of these three is more important than the other two.

Even without a hierarchy, each of us still has one processing center that’s primary. When you throw a ball into a room, it hits one surface first, before bouncing to the others. This isn’t superiority, it’s merely sequence, and our primary processing center is just that first surface encountering life. If we’re taught that this isn’t valid, we spend our lives invalidating ourselves. If we raise it above the others, we filter and miss information.

By shifting our beliefs about the false hierarchies and prejudices we create with our very abilities to take in and process, we can facilitate a smooth integration of our best aspects. We can eliminate the internal conflicts and reproaches that stutter and hiccup when we want to take action. And because these beliefs are about false hierarchies, they’re not so difficult to shift, with just a little extra.. say it with me: “consciousness.”


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Quick Communication Tip

Pronouns!

At the core of both great humor and ferocious arguments, pronouns are convenient, quick, and utterly ambiguous when their antecedent has gotten lost in the conversation.

We know that defining terms is imperative to clear communication, and yet we get a little sloppy with our pronouns. "He said it wouldn't work if they didn't do it on time." Huh?? Unfortunately, if the listener doesn't actively go after those antecedents, the assumption game jumps up to bite us on "it."

When you are trying to communicate something clearly, and without misunderstandings, avoid using pronouns, period. This is a "measure twice, cut once" time saver, and you'll see dividends immediately.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


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Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)


Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?

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