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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

“Would you let me know what time you’ll be home?”
“I’ll try…”

“I know I should clean up my room, but I don’t want to…

“Would you like to be part of our amateur choir?”
“Oh that sounds like fun, but I can’t sing!”

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There are a couple of words that I banned from my vocabulary. You just read a couple of examples of those. (another one is found in this blogpost).

Recently, I realized that this is only one side of the story. There is a whole different side of the story, one that people sometimes tend to forget about.

I’m all for being motivational, all for achieving things, maximizing yourself and going beyond what you think you can do. I’ve experienced things that tell me that boundaries are illusions and that if you push yourself hard enough, you can do whatever you want. The examples are, in my opinion, a way to sabotage yourself. By saying them, you get a free pass to not do something that is actually a bit scary. By saying them, you keep yourself small so you don’t have to step up your game.

There are certain circumstances in which the use of these words are helpful, though.

Consider these following sentences:

(more…)

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Some people seek knowledge. It might even drive them.

I know people who frequent wikipedia at least 10 times during a movie, looking up things they don’t know. I know people who get up in the morning and read up on something because they want to know more about it. I know people who level up on knowledge constantly and enjoy knowing stuff they are interested in.

I’m not like that. I enjoy learning about things. I enjoy broadening my skill set even more. But what I really seek, what really gets me up in the morning, is human connection.

I am driven by feeling connected with other human beings. Everything I do, be it smile to a random passer-by or ask a friend about what’s going on, is to enhance the feeling of connection with that other person.

I don’t want anything from you. I don’t have to rely on you. I just want to know you and try to understand what you’re about (note that I say ‘try’ here because I think it’s obviously an illusion to think you can fully know another human being)

This is why I love asking questions so much. It’s curiosity, nothing else. By asking questions, I hope to get answers. And those answers may be puzzle pieces to understanding you better. By gathering these puzzle pieces, it is easier to relate to you and thus easier to feel connected. I enjoy feeling this connection.

For the longest time, I didn’t know that this was not a universal thing. I was surprised when a friend told me the other day that he knows someone who does not seek to understand other people like I do.

I seek connection. I’m an addict for connection, really. I get upset when a connection seems to be severed (even temporarily) and I yearn for new connections constantly. That sounds a bit dramatic, but if everything I do is connected (no pun intended) to this, then it certainly is an important part of my life.

I am sure not all people work the same as me. I am sure other people have other things that drive them. This just tells me that asking questions comes naturally to me, and that I will always be interested in what anyone has to say. I even made this a large part of my work. I rarely meet anyone that I do not find interesting.

I guess I’m just really a people person.

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I think about people who are close to me a lot. Sometimes, someone I know would just pop into my head. And sometimes, it’s because I know something is going on in that person’s life.

I’ve made it a habit to also act on this. Some time ago, I decided it couldn’t hurt to let this person know that I’m thinking about him/her, so I made it into a habit to send a message, or call them up to let them know. And every now and then, my timing proved to be impeccable and that was just what that person needed, which is nice for me to hear.

Lately however, I’ve been learning a lesson about thinking. I feel like thinking is not always the best way to go, and I’m learning to be in a space where there’s more of ‘feeling’ and less of ‘thinking’. It is teaching me a bunch of stuff, including things about flow, intuition and success/failure.

Today it struck me. The sentence “I’m thinking of you” doesn’t ring right anymore. What I do when I do that, is go with my feeling to that other person, and from a distance be present with them. There is absolutely no thinking involved!

So this led me to think I want to rephrase that little line. What should it be? I’m feeling you? I feel you? I feel about you?

Or maybe just a simple: I’m here. With which I mean: I’m here with you, in the now, on that feeling-level.

Suggestions are welcome! Yes, please!

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Friend: Tomorrow I will have a talk at work. Maybe my CEO will be there too.

Me: Would you like him present?

I am so prejudiced… 😦

(But I guess it’s more about being aware of that yourself than anything else… I don’t believe it is possible to purge yourself of every prejudice, since they are a natural side effect of having experiences. And isn’t that what life is about? Having experiences and choosing how to (re)act on those experiences?)

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Today I had a good experience; apparently I learned something without actively pursuing it, which is — to state it lightly — a new experience for me.

I was in a compliment-avalanche with someone I had just met that day (don’t ask, it came quite naturally, really 🙂 ) and at a certain moment, after he had done something that had required some gathering up courage and pushing oneself across a threshold, I complimented him on his win.

He looked at me and I saw him skip the compliment to proceed to the next topic, moment, feeling or whatever it was that occurred at that moment. I decided this was a guy that can handle the remarks that I sometimes can’t help making, so I stopped him and said: “Wait. Hold on. First accept the compliment.”

He stopped, looked at me, and said (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something in line of): “That’s funny. I had realized you were doing that earlier. You take a moment to accept a compliment and then you go on.”

Now, this in itself, although it is a very nice interaction, is cool. But what was even cooler was that I had decided quite some time ago, that I wanted to take a moment to accept a compliment when someone would give me one, without shame, without excuses, without anything other than let it be and accept it. (I could go on that in our times it’s not normal to just accept compliments, but I’ll leave it for now).

The point is, that even without actively TRYING, I somehow managed to internalize that. 0.0. I didn’t even know I was doing that and I just did. Never knew I was capable of learning things without being overly conscious of it! I like how I can still surprise myself after all those years :).

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This is how I would like to react when later, I grow up and have children, whenever they come to me with a problem or situation.

– What are the things you can do about it?
– What could I do to help?
– It’ll be ok, baby.

It could be my standard palette of reactions, which will undoubtedly annoy them beyond crazy :).
But I think these reactions are very helpful because of the following reasons:

What are the things you can do about it?: This helps to empower someone to think for himself and solve their own problem. It also encourages discovering what’s within one’s circle of control. and what isn’t.
What can I do to help?: This shows that you are not alone, and there are other people willing to help you. It also gives the person the responsibility to state what he needs, instead of me making assumptions about what he needs.
It’ll be ok, baby (Komt wel goed, schatje): Sometimes people just need to vent. After they’ve done so, this is the only response I can think of. They don’t need help, they don’t need to do anything about the situation, but they just want someone to listen to them so they feel understood. It could help them accept the situation.

All of the presumed benefits stated above are things that I would like to teach my children, encourage them in, or support them in. Of course, all of the above can also be beneficial in interactions with other people.

Do you agree with me on this? Are there more initial reactions that you find valuable?

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We have all these beautiful people surrounding us, yet we insist on solving things by ourselves and being alone.

There’s one word that’s been coming up lately. Trust. And I decided to dedicate not one, but three (yes, three!) blogposts to it. For the other ones, click on these links: Trust that my friends will want to support me, Trust that my friends will want to spend time with me.

Trust that my friends will (want to) help me

I always thought I was a patient person. I always thought I was good at trusting other people to do the tasks that were assigned to them. Turns out I’ve got some more learning to do.

This is where I came from. I was brought up seeing people not wanting to ask for help. I’m so very proud of my mom, who let us do almost all the cooking over Christmas! I’ve been surrounded by people most of my life who solve everything by themselves.

I’ve come to see that asking for help is not something to be ashamed of. (more…)

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