“Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me as my own thoughts.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
The brain is on a constant mission to process the information going IN and coming OUT in order to communicate any given message at any given time. Not only do we need to remember that intended messages become lost in translation between recipients but that some of our confusions come directly from the thoughts running ramped through our own heads!
Let’s take the example of someone offering a simple compliment. In the moments before our mouth opens and we form a response, the following thoughts might course through the brain;
- What a fake…I knew I couldn’t trust that guy!
- They’ve gotta be fishing for a return compliment…
- I bet she’s buttering me up because reports are due today!
- I’ll just blow this off…poking fun of myself could be seen as humility.
And so on, and so on.
What with all this converging and provocative internal dialogue, it’s a wonder we ever finally mutter “Thank You”, truly the only response necessary after a compliment. To understand how we can better communicate with others, we should first identify our own communication delays and roadblocks. After all, how is anyone expected to comprehend us, when our very own messages are uncertain, ambivalent or unclear?
How often does your internal dialogue force you to fudge an appropriate response?
Try these 4 Tips on squelching internal dialogue;
- Listen to the WORDS someone has said, not the TONE. Do not assume added meaning.
- Reply ONLY to what someone has said to you, not to what you think they may have meant.
- Leave judgment out of what you hear. You don’t need to AGREE with what someone has said in order to reply.
- When your brain says, “Huh????”, admit to the lack of understanding. Ask them to REPEAT the message.