Another Suitcase in Another Hall: So What Happens Now?

It is the last day of February, and I promised I would blog at least once a month. I have a blog post I am working on, but it isn't quite ready yet. I think I probably care too much about it, mais bon. That is how I roll.

I have been crazy busy volunteering with Community Legal Services, teaching piano lessons, enjoying new babies in the family, and very anxiously waiting to hear back on a few job prospects. I hate not having a plan. I need a plan. If I have a plan and the plan changes that is okay, but I need a plan. That is probably a blog post for another day.

Tonight I thought I would write about something that has been on my mind lately for so many different reasons. I am going to start with this quote from Gerald N. Lund from a conference talk he gave in April 2008.

The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love. Early in our lives,we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to.

Elder Lund's talk is focusing on opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit. However, I remember when he gave this talk, in fact, I am pretty sure I blogged about it then. I remember being struck by not wanting to have my gate be a huge padlocked iron gate.

Well, my friends, here we are seven years later and I have recently discovered that I kind of failed at that. Not that it is an iron gate. Remember how in December I blogged about vulnerability and having the upper hand in relationships?

Yes, I think this is a problem. Good communication is so vital in any relationship. I have been evaluating my extreme inability to speak to people about the things that are in my head. I can't keep being Clarence Thomas guys. I have to get back to being good at communicating. I used to be good at it. I really love people, I want to be able to speak to them better than I have been lately. I don't want others to feel like I am distancing myself from them, or shutting them out for some reason. So I need to become a better communicator, even a great one.

What makes a great communicator? As I consider this question, and my own personal problem three vital components come to mind. (All biblical references are from the King James Version of the Bible.)


Confidence: 

Communicators are confident, regardless of reaction, they communicate their feelings. They are not afraid of how their thoughts or ideas will be perceived, they are confident enough to believe that if they share, even if someone doesn't agree, that they are better off expressing their ideas.

I have been studying the life of the Savior and paying close attention to how He speaks to others. Christ was a master communicator who never feared reactions. Considering the fact that Christ could perceive what is in people's hearts this is incredibly impressive, because a lot of people didn't like Him.

One of my favorite stories in the scriptures is of a man sick of the palsy, whose friends lower him into the house where Christ was. Jesus tells the man that his sins are forgiven, and certain scribes start thinking to themselves that Jesus has no business forgiving people of their sins. Jesus turns to them, since, as I said, He could perceive their thoughts, and says, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye man know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." Matthew 9:4-6. Jesus did not fear the scribes and what they thought of Him. He knew He could forgive the man his sins and heal him, and He knew they should know that too.

Now of course Christ is perfect, and the things He had to say were always important. That isn't true of me. Yet, He is the example that I should be following. So, in order to become a better communicator I need to develop more confidence that what I have to say can be said, no matter the reaction.

Humility:

Great communicators are humble. Although they have confidence to speak their minds, they know that the best communication can take place when you speak humbly. It isn't necessary for them to be seen as being "right" or even the most intelligent. Humility is key, sometimes you might be wrong. Sometimes you might disagree with what someone else is saying, and if you can share that in a kind and humble manner that fosters greater communication because you can create a space where others feel safe to talk back.

Once again, Christ teaches His disciples, "And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:27-28 

It takes great humility to make yourself vulnerable and expose your own weaknesses, and fears, but humility is also necessary so the person you are talking to doesn't feel talked down to, but rather helps them feel comfortable to talk back.

Listening:

Humility leads into the third quality of a great communicator. Good communicators are good listeners. When you can communicate well you take the time to listen to the person you are talking to. This one seems pretty obvious, if you can't listen to what someone else has to say to you, then you aren't communicating with them, you are just speaking to listen to your own voice.

One final scripture, from Proverbs (in the Old Testament). "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end." Proverbs 19:20

Great listeners make great communicators. This opens up that gate around the heart. It can be how we gain wisdom, if we are listening in order to learn.

Those are my thoughts on communication for the evening. What else do you think it entails? What do you admire in great communicators? What has made you one (if you are one)?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Life Gives You Lemons

Late Night Musings: On Love

Rebirth