Sunday, December 28, 2014

What's on your mind?

What are you thinking?
Photo by Thurburn Barker

It can be hard for two people in any kind of relationship, where one is more voluble and the other is more cerebral. The voluble person wants more conversation so he/she can understand what’s going on. The cerebral person doesn't understand why the other person can’t read his/her mind. Often the more voluble person is the woman (a lot of comedy routines play on this), but not always. Some people—male or female—just naturally live in their heads. I’m one of those.

Speak up, let others know

I’m beginning to learn the value of speaking more to let others know what’s going on with me, and my hubby seems to appreciate that.

For many decades, DH has been asking, “What’s wrong?” “What are you mad about?” etc., and I would say “Nothing’s wrong, I’m just thinking.” Apparently, that’s not very reassuring. So lately, I've learned how to communicate that I’m working on a problem—maybe a design problem or a story idea—as soon as I see DH coming. This serves two functions. First, DH is reassured that I’m not angry or upset (my face apparently looks angry when I’m just concentrating), and second, when he knows what I’m mulling over, he often has some really good suggestions to solve the problem (he’s very creative). 

Ask for what you need

Then there’s the question of directly asking for what you need, instead of just hinting or nudging—“I need solitary time to write first thing in the morning, I can concentrate better first thing.” “I need to eat dinner earlier rather than later, my body functions better if I eat earlier.” “I can’t stay up that late watching movies and still be able to function the next day.” You’re saying directly: “I need these things.” By saying plainly what you want/need (and why) there should be no question of ulterior motives or being manipulative. And the other person(s) in your life may begin to understand why you get cranky when these conditions are not met. And the hope is that the other person will be as open and honest with his/her communications, as well. With family and friends, it’s good to know each other’s needs and boundaries and be able to honor them.

You must be a lot of fun!
Tell someone how you value them

Likewise, we don’t tell people often enough how we value them, what they mean to us. Not only people close to us, but also acquaintances and strangers could be told. Many times I will think, “That woman looks really pretty today.” Or, “That was a really thoughtful thing for him to do.” Or, “Every time I see you, you just brighten up my day!” But then I let the thought go and don’t say anything.

One lovely example of someone communicating to a stranger happened on our recent trip, a river cruise in Europe. On the last day of the cruise, a woman, one of the other passengers, came up to me and said that she had noticed me on the first day, and that she thought I was a beautiful woman. I was speechless. I had noticed her, too, and thought that she looked like a really fun person to get to know. Though I had thought about it a few times, I never went up to her to say anything. What a missed opportunity! Since we returned from our trip, the woman’s comment comes to mind at the oddest moments, and I feel beautiful!

Throughout my life I remember smiling at certain strangers on the street, and feeling such a connection. Maybe a smile is enough. And maybe actually telling someone that they look beautiful or interesting or fun would open up doors to a richer life. If nothing else, I could brighten someone’s day and give them a memory to cheer them when they need cheering.  

Thank you dear readers, I appreciate your sticking with me on my journey. Knowing you’re out there keeps me working toward becoming…

What about you, do you have ways of communicating that makes life just a bit easier?

“Have the courage to be sincere, clear and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around.”  - Sara Paddison

1 comment:

  1. It took me a long time to 'come out of my shell'. As a child in a bad situation I was very shy and quiet - not wanting to draw attention to myself. As a working adult I was quiet because I felt I'd get more respect - or perhaps I was still in my 'shell'. As an 'older' adult I smile and even visit with strangers all the time. I love visiting and laughing with waitstaff or others who are serving me. I want everyone I meet to know that I honor them and think they are wonderful. I'm sure many aren't so wonderful -- but I believe that if you think they are and treat them that way they feel better about themselves, and let's face it we ALL are nicer people when someone thinks we are.