These last few weeks have really challenged me on how I communicate clearly to other people while also understanding what they’re saying. Not only have I had to learn a lot about how to pronounce words in Swedish, but how to understand the words being said when they are spoken casually and quickly. Luckily, I have found a couple of friends who really encourage me to pronounce the language correctly, down to every last syllable. It’s been amazingly helpful, and something I hope I retain easily while I’m traveling in Scotland. But even when we use the same words in the same language communication is not always clear. For example, I was talking to someone in Stockholm about something being a mile away. And they asked me if I meant an American miles, or a Swedish mile! I didn’t even know Swedes used miles, as the metric system is what is used throughout Europe. It turns out that one Swedish mile is 10 km. Even speaking about something as basic as distance, we had to be attentive to what we were actually talking about.
I’m in Scotland. I was warned by some of my friends that the Scottish language would be challenging to understand, even though they speak English. I was pretty proud of myself when I was hanging out with my new friends Jan and Terry and could understand 95% of what they said. But then waiting for a train one day, an elderly gentleman came up and started talking to me. I didn’t understand a single word he was saying. His friend had to translate for me. The interesting thing is, they could both understand me very easily. What wasn’t my ear catching? It made me very curious. Yes, they do use different words and phrases such as “you ken?” meaning “you know?”
I won’t even start different word usage like pants and underwear, as it seemed different then how my British friends use them as well. I will have to actually clarify and write it down later. (Pants = underwear and underwear = knickers… or something?)
But my point is, when I listen to my friends, when I work with my clients and their stressors, and think of many of my own challenges in life–so many issues start with a problem in communication. Tones and words are misinterpreted, intentions are misunderstood, or we use an inappropriate medium to send a message. We all know this of course. It’s the subject of therapy books, television shows, work trainings, and so on.
Why is it still such a challenge? I think much of the energy we carry around communication is based upon how we were communicated with as a child. Were you allowed to communicate clearly? Did you feel heard?
How did the adults in your life communicate with each other, and what did you subconsciously learn from that? I know that some of my own healing work has been about clearing and understanding issues around what I heard when I was a child and how I interpreted it in my own self. What ‘they’ said versus what I actually heard. Doing that has helped me be able to listen to my friends, my clients, and my parents in a much more clear way. I take things much less personally, listen to what people are trying to say versus the words that they may be using, as well as having more patience around communication.
If you are having communication challenges in your life, I invite you to sign up for an Emotional Freedom Techniques session with me. To see how this blog shows up, I am just going to email in this and some pictures and see what the web does with it. I figure it fits the communication theme. 🙂