Friday, February 13, 2009


Communication is a good thing. Without it, people can misinterpret each other forever. If you communicate long enough and sincerely enough, it can solve almost anything. It is only useful if it results in a better understanding though. To achieve that, you really have to listen to each other and have the intention to understand the other person. That’s more important than being understood yourself. Maybe that’s because most of us care more about being understood than in understanding the other person’s view so that other side needs some conscious focus to achieve balance.

To truly effectively communicate can take a lot of virtue – things like compassion, honesty, responsibility, patience, courage, humility, unselfishness, and willingness to genuinely consider the other person’s point of view, even if different from one’s own, can be crucial to achieving real communication.

In hindsight, where I’ve had the most trouble communicating is when I expected something, or was trying to get something, rather than being there and listening and seeing what there was to see. There is no real starting point to communication without that action being there .

I recall a particularly difficult relationship I had with someone and looking at it now, can see that my expectations – the way I wanted things to be, my vested interests - made it impossible for me to see almost anything of what was really going on. Perhaps I would have gotten more of what I was seeking if I had been less concerned with getting it. Communication can be most difficult when it is most important, where there is passion and real caring. There seems to be so much at stake, and it’s true, there is. But stepping back and looking at the whole thing as an outsider might view it can be extremely helpful, even necessary, to resolving things in any sort of positive fashion.

Some people don’t really want to communicate. They’ve had failures at it, they don’t think it will go anywhere, or they are simply afraid. I have seen very unnecessary tragedies and destruction occur because of lack of communication, and miracles happen with real understanding – you may be able to think of some examples, too. It is really worth it to make that happen.

Communication can be very healing. Sometimes it is the only thing that will really heal a situation. Regardless of the risk, regardless of what might occur as a result, when that is the case, one may have no other ethical choice but to communicate and to ensure that understanding is really occurring. Sometimes that means clearly spelling something out for a person, especially if there has been misunderstandings and miscommunication in the past. A mystery can stick someone's attention quite severely and is worth clearing up.

You know, any problem, no matter how tough or impossible it may seem, can be solved with communication. Anything, if one wants it badly enough, can be resolved. That is something that one may need to experience to believe but it is worth trying.

Good communication can take practice and conscious effort and lots of thoughtful observation. It's a necessity on any road to real sustainability of a culture, and in relations with other living things.


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