This humaning thing is hard. Living in our own head and body? With all of the thoughts and feelings floating around, this is hard enough. But then dealing with other people who bring their own thoughts and feelings to the table? Oh boy, a whole other layer of complexity. Add in that we are social creatures and need interaction with others? Damn. Things will probably get messy sometimes.
Messiness happened for me today in a conversation with my husband — we were on different pages.
As I was thinking about it later, I was reminded of a training I took and book I read by Fred Kofman back in my Google days. He talked about the 4 moving parts in every conversation: what I say, what you hear, what you say, and what I hear. And what you and I both say and hear are based on our individual perspectives, perceptions of reality, and life experiences up to that moment (which have all been different!).
4 different parts. I suppose it’s no surprise that misunderstandings and messiness happen. Sometimes a lot. In thinking about it, it’s pretty amazing that the world is still in one piece with so much potential for landmines of misunderstanding in the conversations that happen every day. You say one thing — the other person hears something else, and vice versa.
As I ponder, I wonder if misunderstandings aren’t landmines as much as open doors. Open doors inviting us to consider a different perspective or new idea. Maybe it’ll lead us to breaking down a wall and allowing healing for an old wound. Maybe not. We may find a new perspective that resonates or not. We can or don’t have to agree. In any case, the possibility for learning something is always there. And what we learn may not be what we expect; it may surprise us. Then we can decide what action, if any, to take next.
Perhaps the misunderstanding will result in an explosion. It may be really, really messy. However, the door will still be there — we may just have to look through and under some rubble.
Somehow, I think we’ve got to dare to look for the door, rubble or not. Otherwise, we’re guaranteed to just be hanging out with rubble, and that gets old after a while, not to mention uncomfortable.
I made a quick video for you on my learnings today (note to self — set the computer on a less bouncy surface; oh well). You can check it out below (it’s about 5 minutes long):
Learnings, ahas, thoughts on communication? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment below. 🙂