Here is another excerpt from my upcoming book, The Art of Conscious Communication for Thoughtful Men
“Have you ever left a heated or emotional conversation feeling like you had lost some control of yourself in the moment? Ever reflected and realised that you were completely reactionary and perhaps unnecessarily defensive? How about a conversation with things you left unsaid that gnaw at you and tumble together inside with questions; “Why didn’t I say what I really wanted to? Why did I sound so unclear?”
How many of these times do you feel you got the best result as far as the communication was concerned? If the communication purpose was to resolve an issue, convey information, be understood or reach understanding, the chances are not many.
If, however, the purpose was for the other person to see you emotional, then you were probably successful, and this context of communication is sometimes completely valid. For example, as previously mentioned, functional anger can be a very effective way to create boundaries and protection. The communication point could be ‘you’ve crossed a line, now back off!’ Or, for someone who is in a moment of being overcome with tears and sadness, the purpose of the comms might be to convey to you ‘I’m a mess right now, hold me!’. In these situations, it’s obviously appropriate to just be in the emotion and let it flow.
On the other hand, if you want the other person to understand why you feel the way you do, say for example you are completely frustrated and you are trying to explain the cause of your frustration, there is every chance your message will be lost in the storm of the frustration itself. The person you are trying to communicate with will certainly see you are frustrated but is likely to miss any nuance beneath the waves.
Your message would probably have been conveyed more effectively, and therefore better understood, from a place of calm centred-ness. From a place of conscious awareness.
So how do we get better at that? There are ways we can improve our ability to be ‘the driver of our own bus’. There are certain mind practises that over time make it easier for us to influence our physiology; our emotional/mental/physical state. You can learn how to take yourself from being flustered to calm, from being angry to equanimous, even from being nervous to relaxed.”…
Throughout the book I explore and share practises that improve your ability to communicate more consciously. One of these is a practise of integrated mindfulness. This is the learnt skill of being able to stay calm, clear and present, even in trickier conversations. Another is an awareness of ego; when your sense of identity reacts defensively and holds on too tightly to a point of view.
Communication Tip: relax the grip you have on your agenda. This doesn’t necessarily mean give in. Just ‘let go’ a little and ‘lean in’ to the conversation. Approach any alternative views with curiosity. Soften any defensive tendencies you notice internally. When the other person in communication feels listened to and heard, they too soften their energy and become more open to collaboration.