I am naturally quite a direct person and at times, this can come across as abrasive and also harsh to those I am talking to. This year I have worked really hard on being a little softer in my delivery of opinions or thoughts when I am asked of them. I have learnt that I can still be direct and get my point across in a softer and less abrasive way, which means that the person I am speaking with feels respected, valued and worthy of my time. Plus, I can communicate more effectively because they are more inclined to feel like I respect them and aren’t on the defensive. When people speak to me directly, I don’t like it and the more they speak with me that way, the more I resist whatever it is that they are saying.
For me, adapting the way that I communicate isn’t just about making people feel better or communicating effectively, it is also about being self-aware enough to identify what I am putting in others space. What I mean by their ‘space’ is, their world. We all have ‘personal’ space that we don’t like others to invade and I guess the best way to describe the space I am talking about would be ’emotional’ space. I do not believe that we are responsible for the emotions or feelings of others however, I do believe that we are responsible and accountable for what we put into their space.
For example, if a waiter brings you the wrong drink, you could react by being sassy and making snide comments about how they should do their job properly and make them feel as shit as possible about the fact that they are human and made a mistake. Or, you could politely tell the waiter that they have served you the incorrect drink and ask them for the correct one. There is no need to go out of your way to make it known to them that they have made a mistake, they will know full well that they have made a mistake without being put down for it.
My reasoning behind not being nasty to the waiter in this instance, is twofold. Firstly, they are a human being and deserve to be treated with the respect, dignity and compassion that we all deserve. And second is what if they are suffering from depression, anxiety or going through something significant in their life, or having a bad day? We never know what others are going through, or what is going on in their world. .
Each and every person matters. We are all worthy of respect, love and compassion, no matter our job title. I don’t think people realise the importance that each and every person plays in society. We are all a cog in the big wheel that is our society.
I was not aware of the way our words affect others until the beginning of the year. I always expected people to adapt to the way that I am and the way that I communicate, however in the real world this does not work. Sure, occasionally someone might adapt however quite unlikely.
I have found that since communicating in a softer way, I can communicate more effectively and get my point across much easier than before. I also feel better about myself because I know that no matter what I say, it is always kind and compassionate and I don’t have to worry that I said something I shouldn’t have.
“Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.” -Rachel Wolchin