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
Consciousness and Pain Prevention
Our less-than-conscious communication causes so much
unnecessary pain for ourselves and others, and because it is less than
conscious, it rarely gets addressed. We hurt ourselves and those around
us with so much regularity that it fades into the background as
normalcy. We put our energy into being tougher and more calloused,
rather than increasing the consciousness around our words.
Ironically, this requires more energy in the long run, and adds the
downside of further separation and isolation from one another. It also
maintains an antagonistic relationship with ourselves that blocks us
from achieving our full potential. The upside is that since the problem
arises from a lack of consciousness, the solution becomes simply adding
that consciousness back in.
From the Inside
The dynamics of communication are like pebbles in water. The energetic
wave flows outward from its origin point. The nature of the ripples are
determined by the impact/mass of that originating thought/pebble. This
means our best shot at affecting the nature of those ripples is to
address that pebble.
This is where applying consciousness can have a profound impact on the
eventual and distant ripples. There are countless “thought-less” things
that we say to ourselves every day. Some are a little rough, and some
are utterly debilitating; building walls between us and what we want.
They do all this damage flying under the radar of our consciousness.
One of the most common examples of internal verbal abuse is
name-calling. We do this because we observed it as kids, or we’ve
internalized someone else doing it. Usually we do it when we make a
mistake, lose something, or forget something. If you think about it,
it’s absurd to conclude that an insult will fix a mistake or improve
your memory, so it must be getting added by that lurking
less-than-conscious, auto-pilot place that gets us in trouble.
Listen to what you say to yourself. How many times a day do you finish a
sentence in your head with “you idiot,” or some such equivalent?
What makes things worse is the ripples. We're so accustomed to this kind
of self-talk, that we don’t really notice when that “insult wave”
travels outward toward other people. It doesn’t even have to be spoken
aloud to communicate the energy.
Reversing the trend is a simple process, yet requires your attention.
Start actively catching it when you internally insult yourself, and
interrupt that pattern. Apologize to yourself if it already came out,
and if not, try to re-frame how you talk to yourself. Imagine yourself
as your own small child, and talk to this child who you love and
protect. Saying “you idiot” will be unlikely.
From this pebble, weighted and shaped just so, the wave that emanates
will reflect this different energy, and you will not be communicating
disdain for other people unconsciously. This would be a positive ripple
Another thing we do unwittingly, is create an adversarial perspective
where none was intended. This in turn begins a reactive cycle of
defenses, assumed intentions, projections, and more defenses, with
nobody actually engaged in dialogue with the other person. This
resembles “shadow boxing,” where projections on the wall are having the
So how does this happen? How do we create these rifts? It takes two to
tango; there are the words spoken, and there are the thoughts, feelings,
and pre-recorded reactions on the receiving end. Both can be filled with
potential landmines. Your ability to affect someone else’s receiving end
is tied to minimizing potential triggers.
Let’s say we had a plan to go to a Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.
Thursday night, you break your leg. Obviously this is not something you
would choose to do. When I hear that we’re not going to the Farmer’s
Market, I tell you that I’m “disappointed.”
Now this is a perfectly valid and genuine thing to feel. Ironically,
without a little extra care, verbalizing that disappointment can create
a rift. When I say that “I’m disappointed,” there are a couple of things
You very well may hear the unspoken accusation “you disappointed me.”
Words like “disappointment” tend to be trigger words (one of those
vestigial parent’s-voice-in-your-head things) which can evoke an
irrational reaction and defense, that once again separates us from the
engagement of dialogue. When what’s heard is “you disappointed me,” you
feel bad. When you feel bad, you “cope,” you don’t communicate. Let's
think about this for a second: you didn’t disappoint me by breaking your
leg, and yet without me taking a moment to think about how my words
could be taken, I delivered a message that was way off track.
What could I do differently? First of all, I need to create an “us” in
my language. I haven’t included you in what’s going on. It’s all about
me. That may not be my intention; I could have the opposite intention
and want to express how much I wanted to see you, but my words were
about my experience, my world, my view. No doubt you would be easily as
disappointed as me, (plus you've got a broken leg.)
Let’s rewind the tape, and rather than speaking from the “me”
perspective, I’ll speak from the “we” perspective. When I hear that
we’re not going to the Farmer’s Market, I may well be disappointed, but
how about you? What if after making sure you’re okay I said something
like, “Well, maybe we can’t do what we planned originally, but it was
more about being together than just going to the market, so what else
can we do?”
Bringing it all the way up to full consciousness, we can see that much
of the time there’s a child stamping his or her foot for things to go
his or her way, to be seen, to be heard. And we are not that hurt child
anymore, so we really can get past that. Once we do, there’s an amazing
ability to connect with each other on a deeper, more adult level.
Quick Communication Tip
Raising the Altitude
The lower levels of
consciousness development are perfectly normal for children, and
thankfully we usually grow up and evolve beyond those ways of thinking.
Early on, however, when we're very young, we view the world around us as
truly revolving around us. We are in the center of things, and
everything is a reflection of us, how we feel, what we think, and what
we want. Our language is filled with I, me, mine, what I want,
what you do to or for me, and so on.
When we reach an age where we become part of the social fabric, it's
time for us to think about the we, the us, and what is good for the
group. We need to change our language accordingly. Instead
of what I want for me, it's time to think of what we want for us.
The more we are on the same side, cooperating and creating, the less we
will be in opposition, selfishly involved in a tug-of-war. It
starts with our language, and moving from I, me, mine, to us and we.
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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