Conscious Communication: bringing communication
up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above
in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.
Quick Communication Tip
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
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.
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
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:
Quick Communication Tip
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
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
or better yet,
contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.
- the podcast series
KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Personal Life Media -
"Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (full interview)
for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain
2nd Edition now available
visit the Blog.
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Institute for Integral Enneagram
Without Losing Your Soul
about you having
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Circumstances will always be
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