In-between the Lines of Communication

As we carry out our daily lives, we are in constant communication with others. There are many different types of communication – verbal, non-verbal, written, etc. We are communicating with the world around us even when we do not intend to do so. When we think of communication, we probably instantly think of two or more people talking, however communication goes far beyond that. Communication is such a key to our lives, it serves many purposes.

Communication is so important to us and our well-being. It is so powerful that it has the ability to make or break us. The only true way that others know how we are feeling is how we express ourselves and our emotions. This is the base of human bonding and relationships. When we share how we feel and let our needs and wants be known, it helps us to have a peaceful heart and mind. It is sometimes very difficult to communicate things that are in our hearts and on our mind. We may fear the reaction of others, we may not want to start an argument, sometimes we may not even be able to express or convey our wants. It can be very detrimental to not share and communicate with others. Unresolved issues and communication issues are extremely damaging to oneself and their loved ones. I’m sure that a lot of us can recall a time where we didn’t speak up for ourselves, or we didn’t speak the whole truth, how did that make you feel? For me, this causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. It does not make me feel good about myself.

We are also communicating and sending out cues to others constantly without even trying. Our body language gives big clues on how we are feeling. Our facial expressions often can give away our emotions before we even say anything at all. The way we position our hands, our feet, our body, which way we are facing, all can convey interest or a desire for another to back away. Without thinking, we are constantly taking in information from others, this includes both verbal and non-verbal.

I am still trying everyday to better myself and to express myself. I recognize the importance of effective communication both in my professional and personal life and have seen what a lack of communication or miscommunication can do. It is up to us to express our feelings and desires, there is no other way for other individuals to know how we are truly feeling if we do not. It is equally important for us to ask questions and make sure that others are being heard. It is my hope that we can all speak our minds, because there aren’t many things in life as freeing.

Calling Compassion

Have you ever wondered how different this world could be if we all learned to have respect and compassion for others? So many of our world’s problems stem from a lack of compassion for mankind. Sometimes we may be stressed, or caught up in our own lives, and we may forget just how much of an impact our words and actions have on someone else.

I am sure that most of us can recall moments in our lives where we have felt disrespected or unimportant. We may have been bullied at school or at work, we may have confided in a friend who didn’t seem to care much about what we had to say. We could have experienced loneliness that made us feel unworthy. The smallest gestures – a smile, a nod, a handshake, a hug, even a kind word, or simple hello can bring so much happiness to someone’s day. Kind gestures can foster trust between two people, you never know if you may be the only person who has shown such kindness to that individual in a long time. I recently spoke with someone who said that I was the first person to give her a compliment for as long as she could remember, I was surprised and saddened by this.

Compassion not only makes the receiving individual happy, but being the one showing love and compassion to others is such a boost to our own happiness. Helping others is so fulfilling and rewarding. We don’t truly know what is going on in other people’s lives, they are fighting battles that we may know nothing about. An act of kindness no matter how small goes a long way. If we could all learn to get along and show love, or at the very least respect, this world would be a much better place. We are not going to like everyone that we encounter in our lives, but at the very least, there should be a mutual level of respect as human beings. Sometimes that is very difficult especially if another individual has done us wrong, but if we choose compassion, we won’t have to live with such negativity in our hearts and on our conscience.

There are many ways to show compassion to others. A smile, a conversation, a comforting hug, a card, a text or call to check in, even just listening to someone and offering your time. There are times that we get so caught up in the everyday that we forget the impact that we make on others unless they tell us. No matter what we are facing, we should always choose to press forward with love in our hearts, it can make a difference to your world and mine.

Boundaries

Boundaries mean different things to different people and our personal limits and boundaries vary greatly between us. Most of us don’t even realize that we go through our every day lives setting these invisible boundaries between ourselves and the world around us. These may be expressed by our body language, spoken words, or our instincts that tell us to get closer or back away.

Some individuals have very open boundaries, they are freely themselves, and are open and friendly with many people. Some have what we call “a wall up,” where it’s very difficult to let people in and there are many limits and boundaries in place to prevent one from getting too close. Others are somewhere in-between and this is personally where I aspire to be. For most individuals, I am quite difficult to open up, I don’t trust many people easily, so I subconsciously set limits and boundaries between myself and other individuals. There are some people where I feel instantly comfortable with and it’s with them that my wall is lowered and sometimes I end up getting too close emotionally in a short amount of time. I continuously strive and work for a balance.

There are benefits and downsides to having many boundaries, just as there are benefits having minimal boundaries and being a free spirit. The benefits of having many boundaries is that you can guard your mind and heart a little better, you can choose who you feel is worth your energy and who deserves a place in your heart. The downside is that you may be missing out on getting to know others if you are closing them off, we may be missing out on connections and experiences. The benefit of having minimal boundaries is that you truly enjoy life and experience it to the fullest, the negative is that you may get hurt more by putting your mind and heart on the line. Wanting to put up limits and boundaries can and does protect us, but is also hurting and hindering us.

Having boundaries in place is both beneficial and necessary in all relationships including family, friendships, romantic relationships, coworkers, etc. These boundaries help to keep us happy and to feel respected as a human being. It’s up to us to speak our minds and speak up for ourselves if something doesn’t feel right, it’s up to us to communicate our needs to others, there’s no way for them to know otherwise. In return, we also need to pay attention to the needs and wants of others.

Before I end for now, I must touch on the fact that humans have many emotional and physical needs and will often go about meeting them any way they can because for most of us, not having our needs met is very painful. For example, we may grow very close to a stranger because we are in dire need of friendship and don’t want to feel alone, or we may get into a relationship right after a breakup because we no longer have that individual who was fulfilling our needs. The dynamic between people truly fascinates me and is ever-changing.


Life Talk: True Friends and Toxic People

So much of our lives are spent interacting with other individuals on many different levels. We can have acquaintances, friends, family, significant others, coworkers, etc. Each encounter and individual that we meet has the power to impact us greatly…positively or negatively. I personally believe that certain individuals and situations are brought into our lives to serve a specific purpose.

I used to accept just about everyone into my life when I was younger. I definitely learned the hard way that this was not an ideal way of life, but every relationship and situation that we go through has the power to make us stronger. I’ve been through my fair share of fake friends and toxic people, but I have also been blessed with some true friends along the way. I must say that the older I get, these true friends sure do seem like one in a million, they are such a rare find. I do believe that part of this is because as we age, we have a better idea of the qualities that we look for in people when entering into any sort of relationship.

The older we get, we truly realize how precious our energy is and how much the people in our lives affect us. We start to notice who has been our true friend through good and bad and who has been there only at their convenience. Sometimes we may have a friend that is a true friend, but yet a toxic friend as well, or we may have a definite toxic friend that we should remove from our lives.

There are signs of a true friend and a toxic friend. True friends feel like a 50/50 give and take relationship. Both parties feel cared for and supported, there is no selfish or self-absorbed behavior. True friends should feel like a good balance, they should make you feel comfortable and able to be yourself. You’ll find them around during the good times and the bad. Toxic friends on the other hand usually don’t give you the best feeling. The relationship may appear one-sided, they may expect you to be there for them, but when you need them they can’t be found. Toxic friends will use us, put us down, and drain our energy.

I try not to let the past friendships and relationships affect my current and future ones, but having had many fake and toxic friends over the years, I have slowly built a wall up and it is harder to allow people in. I have to remind myself that new individuals are not part of my past and they deserve a clean slate and to be given a chance, some people are truly good and not out to do harm. Trust your gut instincts when dealing with others and love and cherish the ones that are truly there for you!

Knowing who to remove from your life can make all the difference in the world. Your energy is very precious, preserve it.