They Say Communication is Key… BUT

People hear to respond but do not listen to understand


Given the increase of just general social awareness in relation to emotional and mental health along with the expansion of feminism and the deconstruction/reconstruction of concepts of masculinity, it is fair to say that communication within our generation has taken a huge leap forward. Whether it’s in relationships or amongst families and friends there’s now even more reason to speak up and say what’s on your mind. And it’s great that people no longer have to be crippled by their masculinity, gender, race, etc. before expressing how they feel (although many still are but they don’t HAVE to be). It’s also important to acknowledge that this success in communication and progression of all sorts of intersectional rights isn’t world wide. My focus here is on the western world because that’s what I know and understand but I am aware of the fact that in certain places many people still do not have a voice.

The trouble with having a voice…

There isn’t any direct issue with having a voice: you need to be able to have a say in what happens to you and in your environment. On a national scale that means taking part in votes and surveys meaning you’d be denying yourself the right to a voice as a citizen by not voting or taking part in decisions involving your local area (#VOTELABOUR12/12). Even most work places are now interested in employee satisfaction and regularly check that their staff are happy with working conditions. However, the great thing about all of these forms of communication is that they’re in some way controlled and restricted. We, the people, still choose who we vote into number 10. But we do not walk into parliament and have massive breakdowns over what we want ourselves (or at least I hope you don’t). We literally just put one cross on a ballot paper and in doing so we’ve communicated who we want to run our entire country. It’s kinda fascinating… 🤔

Say less…

As excellent as these restrictions to communication are in organising entire social structures, they do not work for personal relationships. So let’s go back to how I started this piece: People hear to respond but do not listen to understand. What does it mean? Seeing there’s a difference between responding to the sound of someone’s voice and taking in everything they’re saying, coming to an empathetic understanding of their position and then responding based on that. If your partner is talking and you’re quick to leap to argue back without having considered why they feel the way they do about a situation – you’re doing it all wrong. Listen. LISTEN. Shut up and listen. Don’t just hear the words that are being said but really listen and understand where they’re coming from.

Being Emotional ≠ Emotional Intelligence

Ladies – omds – ladies. Just because you express emotional it does not mean you possess emotional intelligence. True emotional intelligence is simply empathy. If you cannot understand what it means to be empathetic you are in a state of emotional infancy and need to grow the hell up. Before you get annoyed – let me explain. A child is dependent on the adults around it to provide all their needs. Even as teenagers it’s “mum can I xyz…” with no real understanding of implications of what our needs have on our parents. But as you grow your mindset changes (hopefully) and it’s less “I need” and more “I want money for xyz but I know mum can’t afford it”. We gain an understanding of the suffering of others but also realise the adults around us are people too. This by definition is called EMPATHY:

Now that being said, many people just don’t grow past this phase of being so needy to the point that they ignore the needs of others and ambush the people around them with expressions of their selfishness which they label as “emotional intelligence” – SHUT THE HELL UP. You are a child. If you do not try to understand the emotional positions of those around you I’m sorry you’re emotionally foolish and need to grow up. If not you risk pouring out so much emotion, thinking that that is effective communication. Don’t get me wrong it’s fine to be emotional and expressive – but don’t confuse that with emotional intelligence. Do not cripple your relationships by slamming doors to express anger and not really coming to any real solutions with the people around you – it’s honestly pointless. What do I suggest? Let it out. Express how you feel. But also take the time to understand how the other party feels in the situation and go from there.

To conclude…

Ultimately what I’m saying here is that empathy is the root of all successful relationships. It gives you an idea of why people do what they do but also tells you when their actions aren’t justified. But most importantly, it helps you see the world from someone else’s lenses and therefore communicate in a way that is fair in relation to the situation. We won’t always be calm and happy – sometimes we’ll lash out on the ones we love and its honestly okay to have those days. But if those days are everyday question your own relationship with your emotions and the rest of the world and focus on finding effective ways of communicating with those around you. See things from someone else’s perspective as the image below so creepily but accurately demonstrates…

I’m no therapist or anything, this is just what I’ve observed in the world – I hope it helps. Until next time, stay blessed xx

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