I saw a beautiful man today
He wasn’t much to look at
But his smile revealed his soul
And once I’d caught a glimpse
I didn’t want to let it go
I glanced back, but afraid
He might misunderstand my gaze
I kept my eyes down
Disguised my curiosity with a frown
Didn’t want him to misread my desire to understand as lust
When it was anything but
Unfazed, he returned my gaze
His eyes brimming with joy
At what I don’t know
But I got caught up in this flow
As he re-entered the crowd
Shoulders back, head bowed
Stunned by the serenity
That began to infuse me
I too started to smile
And, after a while
I noticed others responded in kind
Well, those who didn’t mind…
Others were bemused by this
And shrank back almost as though I’d moved in for a kiss
Perhaps they were reacting to me as I had to that beautiful man, before
But there was no holding my joy behind a frown
My shoulders back, I did not drop my head down
I walked tall
Wanting to share this feeling, no longer concerned I didn’t understand
Its source or its meaning
I didn’t need to
Its purpose was clear
It’s the meaning of life
It’s why we’re all here
To share our love when it overflows
So that we have something soft to land on when drowning in woe
Those days when managing a smile is nothing short of courageous
On the days you do it without thinking…
Remember your joy can be contagious.
Pass it on
Keep smiling 😉
All communication has two parts: a sender and a receiver. The sender has a message he or she intends to transmit, and she puts it in words which, to her, best reflect what she is thinking. But many things can intervene to prevent the intended message from being received.
If the communication is verbal, tone of voice can influence interpretation. Nonverbal cues also are important. Is the sender’s posture open and friendly, or closed and cold? Is her facial expression friendly or accusatory? All of these factors influence how the same words will be received.
In addition to how the message is sent, many additional factors determine how the message is interpreted by the receiver. All new information we learn is compared with the knowledge we already have. If it confirms what we already know, we will likely receive the new information accurately, though we may pay little attention to it. If it disputes our previous assumptions or interpretation of the situation, we may distort it in our mind so that it is made to fit our world view, or we may dismiss the information as deceptive, misguided, or simply wrong.
If the message is ambiguous, the receiver is especially likely to clarify it for herself in a way which corresponds with her expectations. Our expectations, based on our life experiences, work as blinders or filters that distort what we see so that it fits our preconceived images of the world.
Below are a few tips for resolving misunderstandings and overcoming communication barriers:
1. Use ‘I’-statements
‘You-statements’ put people on the defensive and often lead to a hostile response. On the other hand, ‘I-statements’ have the opposite effect. For example, ‘I feel disappointed that you cancelled at the last minute’ rather than ‘You’ve let me down again’.
2. Clearly express how you feel
Mind-reading and assuming that others know what you want can create all sorts of problems. When you hint rather than make a clear statement, people don’t always get the message. Similarly, when you ramble on rather than state your thoughts clearly, people may not get the message. So, if there is something that you need to say it’s helpful to tell it as it is – don’t hint.
3. Do it now
If there’s an issue you need to raise or a situation that needs to be resolved, try to deal with it as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets, and the more tension builds up. The only exception to this rule is if you feel very angry, and you can’t trust yourself to stay calm when you talk about it. In this situation, it’s often a good idea to have a cooling off period before you raise the issue. Doing this prevents conflict and reduces the likelihood that you’ll say things you’ll regret. Take as long as you need.
4. Ask for clarification
Just as people can’t always read your mind, sometimes it is difficult to interpret what someone else is thinking or feeling. If you’re confused about the message you’re receiving, the best thing to do is check it out with the other person. Asking for clarification helps to prevent misunderstandings.
For example, a friend seems withdrawn and you suspect they are angry with you. You say: ‘You seem quiet – have I done something to upset you?’ or ‘Is everything OK?’ Checking it out with them can help bring the issue to the surface (if there is one), then you can talk about it.
On the other hand, if there is actually nothing wrong, talking about it will ease your concerns.
5. Acknowledge your discomfort in raising an issue
If you feel uncomfortable raising a particular issue, it can be helpful to let the other person know this, for example: ‘Look Sam I feel really awkward about bringing this up but…’ or ‘Alex, I need to talk to you about something and I’m feeling nervous about it. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but if I don’t say anything, I think I’ll continue to feel upset.’
By honestly referring to your discomfort, you lower the temperature, reducing the likelihood that the other person will become hostile or defensive.
6. Be aware of your body language
The way you speak – including the volume and tone of your voice, your physical gestures, and facial expressions, all have an important impact on how your message will be received. If you fold your arms in front of your chest, have a stern expression on your face or speak in an accusing tone, the other person is likely to feel defensive even before they have heard what you have to say.
On the other hand, an open posture, a calm voice, and relaxed body language helps the other person to feel at ease. This allows your message to be delivered in a non-threatening way. Here’s an acronym that might help you remember good body language:
S – face the person Squarely
O – Open Posture, no crossed arms or fidgeting
L – Lean towards the person, not too much but just enough to show interest
E – maintain Eye contact, without staring
R – be Relaxed, don’t fidget and be comfortable
7. Communicate positive feelings
Developing good relationships means being able to express positive feelings at times. We often assume that people know that we like them or appreciate what they do for us, so we don’t tell them. However, people aren’t mind-readers. If we don’t tell them they don’t always know (even if they do know, it’s still nice to hear someone say nice things every now and then!)
Communicating positive feelings towards others lets them know that we value them and helps to strengthen relationships. Warm feelings can be expressed as a whole message. For example: ‘Jo, the other day when I was upset you asked me if I was OK. It was really good to talk to you. I just wanted to say thanks – you’ve been a good friend.’
8. Over to practicing these points
Hope these tips will help all of us to resolve problems and disagreements in a reasonable and helpful way.
Based on the following resources:
Unfortunately, there is a lot of suffering in this world. What should we do when we see someone suffering? To me the answer is simple: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Work hard for the positive change in this world by combating suffering. To me that’s the true nature of compassion and empathy, morality and spirituality. I could never understand why so many religious leaders and ambassadors refuse to take action, opting for prolonging suffering on this planet. Mother Teresa’s work provides an example of that approach.
The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. These researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Their findings were very disturbing.
“At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. People coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, but were left dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”
“Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid?”
How can people understand the compassion by silently witnessing suffering and refusing to provide any help? As David Hayward points out, “it’s one thing to suffer well, it’s another thing to invite it and then keep it long after it wants to go. It’s one thing to sit with others in their suffering, it’s another thing to let it continue when you have the power to change things.” Let’s get that right and stop prolonging the suffering on this planet. True compassion is an action.
“To be womanly is one thing, and one only – it is to be sensitive to man…; to be manly is to be sensitive to woman.”
Women often believe that they are more emotionally sensitive than men. Is that really so?
Celia Lashlie provides an intersting example of woman’s and man’s emotional sensitivity in her book “He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men”:
Monday 17 November 2003
“Saw John in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so I thought it might be that.
The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat. All through the dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed and didn’t seem to be paying attention to me or to what I was saying.
I just knew that something was wrong.
He dropped me back home. I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated, but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on.
After about 10 minutes of silence, I said I was going to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh, and a sad sort of smile…
I started to think that he was going to leave me, and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep…””
Monday 17 November 2003
“New Zealand lost to Wallabies [in rugby]…”
Is the girl in this example emotionally sensitive to the boy? Not 100% as she can’t make any sense out of all the non-verbal clues he is giving her. However she is trying very hard to understand him in her terms and she is trying very hard to communicate with him in her way, using words.
Is the boy in this example emotionally sensitive to the girl? Not 100% as he can’t make any sense of what is going in her mind and fully understand her, but he is trying very hard to please her: he follows all her suggestions, goes out to dinner with her etc. Is he emotionally available? Yes, he is. He keeps communicating with her, but in his own way, using non-verbal communication: sighs, smiles etc.
As Celia Lashlie points out, “Men are highly intuitive, and they appear to use their intuition as a communication tool… The challenge for women is to recognise the communication that is occuring in the silence and trust it, let it be, rather than insisting that everything be openly discussed…”
So, may be, instead of labelling each other non-sensitive, ’emotionally unavailable’ or ’emotionally demanding’, we just need to learn to look at things from different perspectives, respect each others feelings, views and communication styles without losing sense of humour?