Writing has always been my passion and my talent. When I was a little girl, I’d record our family vacations in a corduroy-covered journal, illustrate the little missives and stories myself, and tuck it into my carry-on bag so I could jot down anything beautiful or inspirational or perplexing that crossed my mind.
When it was time to pick a profession, I figured I’d go with what had always come easily to me, and what I loved: writing. Throughout my life, if I had the time to put the words together on a page, I knew I’d convey a message clearly, articulately and without confusion.
Because when I was asked to communicate verbally and spontaneously, inevitably I’d stumble over the words or say something too quickly without the time necessary to think and develop a tempered statement. My gut reaction – ego-driven – was never the best one. The timing of writing allowed ideas to ferment until they were palatable.
I just finished a week of troubled communications. Thankfully, as trouble seems to come in threes, I had three separate incidents so that means (I hope) it’s over and on to smooth interacting.
I’ve turned them over and over in my mind and reflected on what I could have done differently to avoid miscommunication and emotion-driven reaction.
And then it hit me. All three incidents were relegated to email. There was no soothing tone of voice and reassuring eye contact as if we were in person. There was no easy back-and-forth of a phone call. It was all one-dimensional, distant email.
Because I rely so much on writing to help me communicate effectively, I have come to prefer it as a medium. When I should pick up the phone, I instead want to send an email, thinking I will succeed more if I write it down than if I have a person on the line.
But in each of these cases, had I picked up the phone, it would’ve been smoother.
And also: I realized that in each communication, I wasn’t in a mindset of being of service; I was focused on getting a job done, and quickly, and on what was in it for me, rather than a mutually beneficial exchange. At the core, for sure, I was seeking – I am always seeking – mutual benefit. Mine is a business model built on compassion.
But in these quick little interactions – perhaps I was distracted by other tasks or kids or whatever made it unexpected and not thought through – it was all about getting the job done and not about a person doing business with a person.
Funny. I preach everything other than what I actually did in these situations. Big lesson.
Our sages teach us that when the same troubles keep arising in our lives, it’s because we haven’t yet resolved the issue internally or learned the lesson we needed to learn. It’ll keep happening until we do.
So I can’t just blame the other person – even if the other person was rude and vindictive and completely inappropriate (in all three cases). I must look at each one as a mirror, a reflection of my inner self, and heal that friction. Otherwise, it’ll just happen again.
Wishing you – and me! – a peace-filled lovely Saturday. From a place of compassion and love. Which is the only way we should move through our days, right?