How many of us truly have open communication in our homes, our workplace, our church or even with close friends and relatives? We are so programed to NOT speak our mind, state that we have been hurt, ask for clarification, give our opinion that we hold so much junk inside most of the time that we are poisioning our own bodies with the stress we hold in.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't expect you to all of a sudden become like me, a person who is known and always has been known for stating what is on her mind and trust me sometimes it is a burden to have a 'take no prisoners,' type of communication, but it has taken me 52 long hard years to know how to use it properly.
My grandfather alwasy told me to 'just say what is on your mind, don't stab someone in the back, say it to their face and say what you mean and mean what you say.' Growing up in a family where as long as we were respectful, calm and got to the point, we could use communication to ask permission to go places, change our chores, etc.. My husband was raised in a closed communication home, don't speak at the dinner table, keep your thoughts to yourself and of course, he fell in love with the total opposite of himself.
Poor baby, how many times he has had to come to me and ask me, 'do you know what you just said to that person?' Of course I knew what I had said, what many times I didn't kn0w, was how the other person took it.' Now, I get it! Those light bulb moments over 27 years did finally sink in.
I had a college advisor/mentor/instructor that used to tell me when doing writing projects for the business, redo the paper, rewrite the introduction, stop going in for the kill in the first sentence, be nice, be nicer, you can do this. We had a wonderful relationship, he patient and calm in his explanations and me, stubborn and forceful in why I shouldn't be nice but just get to the point. After all, don't CEO's want you to say what is on your mind as quickly as possible? NO! They don't, they want you to butter them up, go in for the kill and then butter them up again.
Hello! Do I look and sound like Paula Deen or Mrs. Butterworth? But, I reconciled with my mentor because after all, I wouldn't have gotten an A if I hadn't. Matter of fact he used to tell me if I didn't get this one very important point, he would fail me. I got the point!
If you read my blog, you will see that I am a very open communicator and one that communicates with emotion. Recently a friend and I were talking and I said something to her about forgetting about this being a small town. The next day, she called me and told me she needed some clarity to what I had said. She felt I was saying she was a country bumpkin and took insult to my comment. The first thing I told her was if I was going to call her a country bumpkin, I would have just stated that fact. I was referring to us talking about her husband knowing someone we knew and he didn't like the person, but we both knew many people who knew him and liked him and that is when I said I forget how small this town really is.
Don't get me wrong, I do not go out of my way to insult or hurt someones feelings, but if you have a booger hanging out of your nose, I am not afraid to tell you. If you tucked your skirt into your panty hose, I will tell you. If you have green stuff in your teeth, I will say something. Why shouldn't I? I can tell you I wouldn't want to walk around all day with people laughing at me and thats what people do. They would rather laugh at you than tell you nicely you need to check yourself in the mirror.
Did you know God wants us to have open communication? Ephesians 4:26-32 clearly tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger, do not give the devil an opportunity to steal our joy. If we can't be open about something that has angered us, baffles us, affects our lives, then we are hanging onto it with bitterness and the devil is going to use that weapon every chance he gets.
Don't go to bed angry, work out the problem.
We are also not supposed to steal someone elses joy, because it goes onto state let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, only God's edifying words. I am soooooooooo guilty of snappiness, but yet, I am working on it daily. By snappiness, I mean hubby can come up and ask me a simple question and I snap an answer at him in crankiness. Many times I do this and don't even realize it. I hate it once it is out and then I sit and wonder why I behaved that way?
So, open communication isn't just the use of words, it is also the way we use our body language and tone of our voice that lets someone know how we truly feel about them or what they have asked us. Some of how we behave is who we are around at work or school. Try actively thinking about what you are going to say when someone asks you a question. If you feel you will say something negative, hold your peace and tell the person you will get back to them and walk away until you can address the person in love and kindness.
Remember, open communication doesn't mean bad behavior, it doesn't mean keeping it all inside, it means coming to the table and being kind even if sometimes you don't feel you want to be!
Go out this week, be kind to people, let people know how much you care about them and practice open communication!