Communication was, as far as I understand the whereabouts of the humanity, invented in order to help us to connect with each other. To create connections between our individual inner worlds, our vast inner universes. But it does not always seem to be helping us toward the connection. To be honest, often upon hearing other people speaking I feel instantaneously disconnected, bored, sleepy or almost on my way to be comatosed.
Last week, during our Dialogue peer-group meeting in Germany, along with the train-the-trainer workshop with Glenna Gerard, I had plenty of opportunities to explore this question of when does the communication connect and when does it disconnect me from others. A lot of “new” people came to the group, with various levels of experiences with the Dialogue Process, with diverse communicational skills and expectations of the event, and so the communication was not nearly as homogeneous as usually on our meetings.
Throughout our communications I was observing my energy-level and motivation dropping down or exploding up, sometimes literally from one minute to another, trying to notice what it was that woke up my energy and created the feeling of connection with another, and what was it that put me asleep and created the feeling of disconnection. Here is what I found out so far about what needs to be present in order for me to feel connected:
- When the other person shares their own inner universe with me, when they report and show what it means to be them, how it feels and what is going on inside of them, this is when I wake up and the feeling of connection rises. When they honestly express their thoughts, feelings, needs, pains and joys, yearnings and fears… But when they start speaking about my world, giving me analysis and diagnosis and unsolicited advice, therefore telling me something about my inner world they know nothing about really; this is when they lose me. I also immediately feel uninterested and disconnected when people start talking in general about the world and the life: life is this, life is that, things should be like this, people should understand that…
- When the other person expresses what it is alive in them now, what is their reality in the present moment, this is when I get connected with them. Even if they go into explaining stories from their personal past, as long as it is clear how this responds to their reality now, it definitely works. But when it is just stories upon stories and when I cannot perceive any other reason for them but the instant-and-ongoing-entertainment, well, I start yawning.
- When the other person also has some genuine, personal interest for me and an open-minded curiosity about my universe, so that there is some mutuality and balance going on, I feel connected. When there is a never-ending monologue on one side, well…
- When there is a feeling of me and the other jointly and eagerly exploring the unknown, being the learners and explorers of life and of each other, I am passionately in. But when it is us, “the great knowers of life”, trying to persuade each other into the one and the only correct perception, well, thank you very much, I am out of there.
So, this is what, in general terms, works for me in terms of connecting with other people through the means of communication. And I am rather excited exploring this further.
So I wonder, what works for you? Similar or different?