Weighing Words: Yours vs. Mine

BismiLahir Rahmanir Raheem

*What if you knew about all that I do? The things that I think? The me that is true? Would you call me a hypocrite? Call me a liar? Would you curse out my name or would you damn me to fire? Would you know what to say or would you just walk away afraid the me I've tried to hide would too closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?*
- Dawud W. Ali

"Communication, communication, communication" is said to be the key to successful relationships. This advice sounds as good as the golden rule to good real estate "location, location, location." But buying a house on a busy, main road is going to drive any sane person nuts just as any store owner will be bored out of his mind (and surely out of business) with a store in the middle of farmland. My point you ask? Well, let's put communication into perspective because sometimes it seems not to work as well as we'd like.

Successful communication requires the interlocutors to understand each other with few or no baseless assumptions about the other. The message from person A reaches and is understood by person B as clearly as person A thought of it in his/her own mind. Quite a feat, eh? It's not a wonder that most conversations require some level of clarification. Nonetheless, this blessing of communication seems to work, perhaps not as perfectly as described above, but that's because most topics aren't sensitive enough to notice a lack of precision in understanding. What happens though when the topic is sensitive to either party and where the dialogue seems to progress only slightly if at all? No doubt, such a case would necessitate tact, diplomacy, and consideration for the receiver's reaction to whatever is coming from the other interlocutor. Simple enough, right?

Nope! Not that simple... This is where it seems to all go down the drain with all parties claiming to have had good intentions and not responsible for the other person's misunderstanding. Good intentions do not negate a person's negative response to a well-intended action, but instead they facilitate efforts in the reconciliation process. Communication is a two-way process, and where it fails, it requires an effort from both sides to reach a solution. It is not fair to say, "Well I meant it in a good way, therefore he/she can't feel that way as a result of what happened."

No one has the right to say that another "cannot" or "should not" feel a certain way about something. All feelings are valid, even if they stem from miscommunication. And because each feeling is valid, they must be addressed with care so as to fill in the blanks and readdress the areas of confusion and misunderstanding. To illustrate, a lady once told me that her husband thinks she hates him. She undervalued his feelings on the basis that she knows she doesn't hate him and attributed his claim perhaps to his own personal issues. After some exploration, we soon discovered reasons that may have contributed to her husband feeling as though she didn't care much for him. She finally made the effort to understand his feelings, a first step towards solving their problems.

Communication is a messy process sometimes, but giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and trusting our loved ones to be sincere with us is a starting point of enjoyable dialogue, one that can withstand even a hurricane. It seems to me that communication can only make remarkable leaps when we ask ourselves "What did he/she understand?" instead of "What did I mean?"

Just don't ever forget, it's not all about you or me... it's about us.

Smile. There's light at the end of every dark tunnel, God willing!

O Lord, let our return to You be sweet, our lives be fruitful, our relationships be beautiful, and our every moment bear witness to Your greatness, ameen.

No comments:

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]