One of life’s many dilemma’s is understanding how best to communicate with one another. Some analyze their words in abundance before they spit them out – afraid of saying the wrong thing, hurting feelings, or just plain giving off the wrong impression. Others, on the flip side, have little filter and often think little of the repercussions of their words and impact they may have.
Tone and the manner of the spoken word is another crucial factor in communication. Sometimes love is the driving force behind reprimanding words; sometimes hurt drives us to call a truce even while sacrificing dignity. Emotions can so easily take over our actions that it’s sometimes understandable how – without a good hold on them – they can speak for us, but not always so clearly.
For that reason, it is a likelihood that a lot of miscommunication could be remedied by both listening and understanding beyond the words and manner of speaking – to the emotions behind them.
Think back to the last time you fought with someone and you felt misunderstood and victimized - like you were insignificant and a burden just for trying to express your feelings. Was it a reoccurring issue that you had tried to fix before? Perhaps it was with your significant other, and no matter what you said or tried to explain, your words hit the brick wall he/she put up only to crumble and lie in a heap of fruitless attempts. Often, the person being approached about the issue reacts the same every time – in a defensive, annoyed, exhausted, even angry manner – simply apathetic to the other’s attempt to fix something that he/she sees as pointless.
Now, you are the pestered party – approached again about an issue that you feel is so bothersome; “nagged” about something that you find trivial and plain annoying.
You wonder, ‘Why does this keep coming up? I wouldn’t care about XYZ! It’s not a big deal – why is he/she making such an issue about it?’ And so on and so forth. For you, you hear disapproval in the other party’s words; you hear feelings of constant anger, unhappiness, bitter and pointless banter that is putting a giant stain on your relationship.
Apply this situation to any relationship – be it between you and your friend, parent, co-worker, boss, whomever – and it can easily fit. Such an issue is so remarkably common between two parties: both battle with each other and even with themselves just growing more and more distant and frustrated; true emotions not penetrating and new – quite possibly bitter ones – manifesting and taking their place.
My experiences have often taught me that the “pestered” party will often neglect to understand that the other person is simply hurt. But just because it may not be over an issue that is personally hurtful for them – it doesn’t mean it’s not important to be understanding why it is for the other person. Being apart of a healthy relationship doesn’t constitute for apathy, but empathy. You most likely have issues that may not be so substantial to the other person, but similarly – you’d hope for them simply to be mindful of them.
On the flip side, the person trying to fix a problem could often be manifesting their hurt into feelings of anger that can so easily come off as complaining, nagging, and overal disapproval of the other person’s actions – leaving that person, in turn, feeling like he/she isn’t good enough or “can never do anything right”. Anger and an attack often beckons for the same, and this can so easily turn into a vicious cycle of fighting fire with fire.
No one side in a fight is ever completely faultless or “right.” Similarly, it just seems impossible for one person to fix a problem without the other party being open to listening and truly understanding.
Whichever shoe you’re in, you’ll never move forward without both taking a step in that direction.