I believe that communication is the pathway to connection. Most of us yearn for connection to others, yet some of us fall short in manifesting the connections we seek due to the inability to communicate effectively. Many of us were taught as children to only speak when spoken to. Have you ever witnessed a small child observing something and saying out loud how they felt about it only for their mother to apologize for their outburst? The child was being honest and speaking their truth. How many of us say yes when we really want to say no? Sometimes we feel obligated to say yes or are afraid to say no for the fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
I recently traveled to Medellin, Colombia and I don’t speak any Spanish. I was there for ten days. On a daily basis, I was reminded of how difficult it was to communicate with the hotel staff or the other guests in the hotel without speaking their language especially because they did not speak any English. I learned very quickly to use body language and facial expressions as a secondary form of communication. I desperately wanted to connect with these people and learn about them; where they were from, why they were there, where they were going, anything and everything. I felt very isolated and alone due to the lack of connection.
Later on in my stay, about seven days into it, I discovered that two other Americans were staying in the hotel. I had passed by them many times and spent time in common areas with them, but barely any communication took place. I assumed they were Colombian and did not speak English, so I never attempted to communicate with them in English. It was a very uncomfortable situation for me, but it was very clear to me at that point how important communication is when it comes to forming connections with others. I also know that when I am the most uncomfortable in a situation is when I learn the most valuable lessons. My lesson was clear – communication equals connection.
It is important that we take the lessons we learn in life and apply them to move forward. I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to speak my truth – to say no when I mean no, and guess what, a maybe is a no because it’s not a yes yet. I am also going to make a conscious effort to decide who I want to form connections with and learn how to better communicate with those folks. Good communication starts with listening, and also being able to adapt to different forms of communication whether it be verbal or non-verbal. Effort is important, but finding a common ground in communicating with the other person is just as important. How about starting by letting the person who you want to form a deeper connection with know that is your desire? If they are open to it too that will go a long way in sparking their desire to communicate more effectively with you.
The last thought I have to share with you is that if the going gets tough, stick with it. When communication gets rocky some people retreat from the relationship or start communicating differently. Don’t be a victim of shutting people out just because communicating becomes a little difficult. You really don’t want to run the risk of losing that connection, but when we push people away, that’s exactly what happens. Be mindful of the end goal – the desire to form strong relationships and whatever you do, keep the lines of communication open. Don’t become the missing link to your own connections.