SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. SAY SOMETHING!

i write this for the ones who don’t want to cause trouble, and for those who need to speak [all the way] up!

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COMMUNICATION.

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a tap on the shoulder. a smirk. a vibe. an emoji. a thumbs up. smiles. a flirt, a frown, or an eff you! – all of these things directly convey a message from sender to recipient, and oh yeah bro, we get it.  it’s COMMUNICATION.

COMMUNICATION has been a make-or-break part of all of our lives since day one.  it’s fundamental, it’s amazing – it’s also scary and unavoidable.  we might be giving a friend a dissertation on why they shouldn’t buy those jeans, or trying to make awkward small talk with someone new; aggressively crying for no reason (me), busting up with laughter (me), or rolling our eyes (also me) – all of those show how we COMMUNICATE in a million different ways.

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looking at the big picture, COMMUNICATION can be broken into a few major categories:

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it seems so complex, but at the same time it makes perfect sense.  the key is for us to balance all of these things while finding the ebb and flow in every type of COMMUNICATION we have with others.

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the things i am [re]learning about communication are:

  1. VERBAL: MY WORDS CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF [MY] HISTORY, so i need to speak up (and be careful)

  2. NON-VERBAL: MY FACE AND BRAIN NEED TO GET ON THE SAME PAGE, or i will COMMUNICATE without meaning to and potentially cause some trouble.

  3. FROM THE SOUL: I NEED TO SPEAK MY TRUTH WITHOUT FEAR OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

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i think one of the most difficult things about COMMUNICATION is a fear of judgement.  ugh, i know, i dropped a bomb.  fear of judgement.  it is the worst, most ever-present piece of crap stronghold that affects every single one of us from time to time.
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think about the kid in school (possibly yourself) who never wanted to raise their hand to answer a question, would never volunteer to participate in class, or who would do the homework but not turn it in.  that is a prime example of what i think of as a ‘microfear’ – it’s not big enough to acknowledge at the time, but 15 years later you’re like “GAH! i can totally relate to Jimmy Brooks in the 7th grade!” – you realize that the microfear of judgement has stifled your ability to openly share, participate, and COMMUNICATE.
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Another area that affects our ability to COMMUNICATE is our families.  look, friends, I am keeping my Oprah Winfrey hat off this week, but I just want us to consider this:
our family members are real, actual people. the titles of Mom, Dad, Sister, Uncle are just assignments that are given out by default.  we treat these people as super heroes, and their opinions / words / vibes can make or break us at the core.  they often hold the key to our self esteem, our growth plans (or lack thereof), and how we decide to present ourselves to the world. consider the stories you’ve heard about your family members, consider their actual lives outside of molding and shaping you as a child.  think about their hardships, their habits, the money they did or didn’t have.
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then…

FORGIVE THEM.  forgive them for the things they said, for the things they didn’t say, and for the vibes / looks / moments that put tiny fractures into your giant heart.  it will open up room in your heart for new / more love, and you will breathe deeper than you ever knew you could.  it will take time, and it wont be easy – but it will be worth it.

FORGIVE YOURSELF for not being who they wanted you to be. for wasting time trying to be someone you are not. and for not speaking up for yourself when the opportunities were there and you could have changed things. it’s okay.  you’re okay. we’re okay.  it’s going to be okay.
CELEBRATE YOURSELF for becoming the strong, amazing, evolved, resilient being that you see looking in the mirror.
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now doesn’t that feel good?!
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but it is hard as hell.
I asked a few anonymous friends about COMMUNICATION in my latest survey, and whoa – i was legit blown away.

KEEP IT REAL: DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE.

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Do you ever hold back from saying what you feel in order to keep the peace? How do you feel in those moments?

All the time and I feel stifled when I do, mad at myself for being worried about others feelings more than my own. It feels like I sacrificed my peace for theirs.

Sometimes. I’ve always been a believer in “think before you speak” and not always blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. I’m patient and watch before saying what I think and how it could be fixed.

For the sake of my mom I withhold saying what I need to say. How I feel in those moments is frustrated, angry and unappreciated. With friends I say what I need to say and let it be if it cost me my friendship then we were never friends.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve created a very clear line of when I should speak my mind or hold my tongue. But because I’m so stubborn, I sometimes don’t listen to myself. I think it comes from growing up feeling less-than & constantly hiding my feelings; Holding my tongue sometimes reverts my mindset back to being a kid and feeling inadequate & ignores all he progress that I’ve made, so suffice it to say, I don’t like it. But it’s necessary evil sometimes and, I think, a part of being a full fledged adult: knowing when to shut up.

Always. The idea of conflict gives me anxiety. I try to avoid it at all costs. I honestly don’t feel strong enough to deal with it most of the time.

 

Do you fear confrontation? Do you have any tips on how to approach difficult conversations?

I do not fear confrontation. In dealing with people I usually ask a lot of questions to understand why they thought their actions were acceptable when it hurt my feelings.

I do fear confrontation. I have a tendency to feel like I did something wrong even when I didn’t. ESPECIALLY if I need to confront someone. I go in feeling like the bad person just because I have to express my feelings. I fear the other persons reaction…I fear a pretend scenario. What I try to do is step away from that mind frame and remember that I’ve done nothing wrong and that I need to have more faith in humanity… that it will not turn into a battle or argument.

Tips: go in with a positive mindset, visualize your ideal outcome, don’t take yourself so seriously, write out what you are trying to express before the conversation and take 5 deep breaths before the confrontation. Deep breaths are key for all things in life.

I absolutely fear conflict. I’m still learning on how to approach difficult conversations. Someone gifted me a book on how to. One day I’ll actually read the book.

I fear confrontation, but my progress that I’ve made acknowledges that fear but continues in spite of it. I have absolutely no tips on approaching difficult conversations. It’s always such an intricate and delicate dance of feelings that I don’t believe is the same for anyone and any situation. Unless you don’t give a shit; Then make yourself heard any way you can. There’s a freedom in that, but it’s not always possible.

 

Who is the hardest person in your life to communicate with? Why?

My mother. I have always been one to try to skirt the issue with her. I do have moments where it’s hard to talk to her because she is very hard in her beliefs.

Some of my friends, my mother, and my child’s father. I don’t think they understand me, my thoughts, my feelings (or they won’t understand). I don’t want to be judged by them.

My parents and my ex partner. It is challenging at times communicating with my parents because they don’t have a place of reference managing people. Being an entrepreneur and then a creative. So at times there are large gaps in our communication or I have to go back to set up the foundation to our conversation then have our conversation and it’s exhausting. I love my ex partner and at times I struggled in speaking to him about how I feel and situations that have taken place. Immediately he would take things personal and no accountability because it’s always someone else’s fault.

My mom because she’s so sensitive, my white friends because they are truly oblivious to the struggles of black folks.

My dad. We have good conversations but there are certain subjects that I tend to stay away from. He’s very consumed with work and a little shut off at times. He can be stubborn and shut you down if you’re telling him something he doesn’t want to hear. He doesn’t always hear me..literally he can’t hear very well. lol. He also is quick to react if you have an opposing opinion. BUT, he is capable of having intellectual conversation if you can break past the initial reactive part of the conversation. I tend to not push the boundaries of our conversations though. Maybe I’ll try a little harder and be more aware of any excuses I’m trying to make for expressing myself…like I mentioned in the first answer.

I don’t have one person, but more of the type of person. That is of a coworker. The coworker/friend line is ever wavering & that relationship is incredibly complicated & just as fragile. We all slip from time to time in our communication with friends/family but if you slip at work, those consequences could be severe and long-lasting.

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so, friends, how do we do better?  how do we get beyond our microfear of judgement, how do we align our verbal and non-verbal COMMUNICATION?  how do we improve the way we COMMUNICATE with others?

i’ve got a game plan.

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WAYS TO OVERCOME BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION

  1. Have a clear mind and clear thoughts.
  2. Have empathy toward the person you are COMMUNICATING with.
  3. Get over fears from the past.
  4. Adjust your COMMUNICATION style to meet the needs of the other person.
  5. Be respectful, and always be respected.
  6. Be ready for feedback.
  7. Keep your mind, heart, and body language in check.
  8. Don’t freak out.

WE CAN DO THIS.

LET’S COMMUNICATE BETTER THAN EVER IN ’18.

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i will always end our #powerpact sessions by saying that i see you, i love you, and i am on your side.  let’s grow.

Comment below to add to this flow of thought.

catch me on the ‘gram if you want at @THEPOWERPACT

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One thought on “SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. SAY SOMETHING!

  1. I thought for so long that I was a good communicator. Except I never took into consideration that people have different communication styles and love languages. It was only after couples communication classes that I truly understood what it is to listen, I mean really listen, which I didn’t realize was a huge component of communication. This article is fuego. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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