Last month I wrote about the rewards of dwelling in silence. That virtue does not suggest that your voice be silenced. Your opinions deserve to be heard and your needs expressed and met.
But it is not enough to simply voice your message. You must take responsibility for delivering it and being assured that it has been heard… and understood.
Undelivered communication is one point of the triad-of-disappointment along with unfulfilled expectation and thwarted intention. And today, amid the din of social media and competing noise from the blogosphere, it is more important, necessary and difficult to communicate successfully.
Did you make a request? Ask for a response? Take a stand? Demand an action?
Often, there is a degree of tension that accompanies the exchange. Perhaps disputed finances are involved, or displeasure at being left out of a decision making process or being at odds over personal preferences. Concerned with ruffled feathers or angry backlash, we can become timid and reluctant to take responsibility for our difficult positions.
“I sent you a text,” or “did you get my email?” is the fallback tactic. We pretend that the “Send” button fulfills our responsibility.
But it does not. We must personally make sure our message was delivered. And listened to. And played back in a way that assures it was, in fact, understood. Only then does the responsibility shift. Only then is the communication successful, when there is acknowledgment and evidence of comprehension of the message you are sending.
This is not an update about improving business and writing skills. It’s about deserving to be heard, and clarity of feelings and improving relationships. And presenting yourself as a participant equal in value and skillset. And not hiding behind excuses and your own timidity.
Your voice counts. You count.
As does your vote, now more than ever. On November 3, the future of democracy is on the ballot.
With Love and Light,
Arlene Englander, LCSW