Just because someone’s speaking a lot doesn’t mean they’re communicating a thing.
You can also be very quiet and still be communicating. Non-verbal communication is said to be 80% of the actual conversation.
With that said, I believe myself to be an average writer, with an above average ability to communicate.
We can break down communication to:
Intent, Clarity and Delivery
To communicate effectively, we need to know the intent, or, the message that needs to be conveyed. Are you sharing how you feel, or intending to elicit a reaction, response or action from someone else?
How clearly are you delivering that message? And how do you deliver that message? Is it by writing, by speaking, or through a non-verbal display either energetic or physical?
Bad communication would be if what you’re saying isn’t in line with how you’re acting. It’s also when your intention is obscured either because you’re manipulating someone, or because you yourself have no idea what your actual intention is. Bad communication is unclear, confusing, evasive, filled with mixed messages, assumptions or often has no specific intention. You leave someone in the dark to guess what you mean through inconsistent actions, withholding or deliberate cold shouldering.
Energy can communicate a lot too. Someone’s energetic state can show you that they’re sad, when they’re acting happy in person. Or, someone can be very distant, but their energy can be clingy and invasive.
I believe the first step toward effective communication is making sure that YOU are effectively communicating with you first. If your mind and body are disconnected, that’s going to make communicating effectively very hard because your feelings are not in line with your thoughts and sometimes you may not know how you feel or what you think. Great communication starts with great communication internally between mind and body, so that which is communicated is a thoughtful negotiation between the two, a consensus already established within.
If we are blocked off from ourselves, we cannot communicate with the outside world.
The second is recognizing how we best communicate. Some people are gifted orators, others are better at writing. Some are great at communicating right away, others need some time to process. I myself am a more effective communicator when I have had some time to process. So I’ve learned to tell people I need some time to reflect. There are some discussions I feel are better handled verbally so that emotions in that moment can be pure, and others that may be a trickier subject, would benefit from clear and detailed, unemotional writing.
All in all, if we can all work on our communication, there would be less miscommunications. I do believe that miscommunications whether with ourselves or others are the cause of a lot of grief and suffering. If we can all become better communicators, we can streamline so much and also save so much energy!
Personally, communication is so important to me because we had a continual lack of communication in my home growing up. My parents couldn’t communicate with each other, and couldn’t communicate with me either. In fact, I was punished for attempting to communicate, cold shouldered, or blatantly ignored (my mother would get up and leave). Sometimes I would tell her I loved something she did and for no reason at all, she’d stop doing it just because I communicated it to her.
Their chosen method of delivery was shouting and their messages were inconsistent and confusing. I made it my focus for a lot of my life after seeing what damage could be caused by a lack of communication skills in life, in all relationships- how much tension and resentment can be built up and poison the household. I’ve lost so many friends because we couldn’t express our needs or feelings directly or, one person or another expected the other to be a mind reader. I wasn’t always a gifted communicator, in fact, I was a poor communicator for much of my life because I was never taught, in fact, my basic abilities to communicate (and we’re all born with them- our first communications are emotional: crying, laughing, etc..) were broken down. Luckily, these skills can be built with conscious effort.
I’ve definitely expected people to read my mind because I’m projecting my own expectation- I sometimes can read minds because I’m so intuitive, but not everyone has that skill. Sometimes I wouldn’t say what I meant because I was scared of being judged, other times I didn’t know what I meant at all. A lot of times I never expressed disappointment, I never “corrected” someone’s poor behavior, and instead just opted to freeze the person out because I expected perfection and anything but would be a slight. I assumed that people didn’t want to change or adapt to me, and maybe that came from an underlying assumption of low self-worth, that people weren’t willing because I wasn’t worthy. I was afraid to communicate because I felt so rejected so much of my life for attempting. I was afraid if I told someone what I liked, they’d stop doing it.
I was very lucky to have had an entry point to clear communication through BDSM, where communication is a core part. The negotiation is straight forward and important, and the more direct it is, the better a time can be had. These are tricky territories we’re navigating based on personal triggers, likes and dislikes, so the more upfront someone can be, and the more ability you have in prompting that open communication, the better. And that too is an important skill- there are characteristics you can hone to open up communication so that people trust and feel safe to communicate with you— i.e. being less judgmental, more open, more present, more validating.
So again, BDSM’s application to life is huge!