Imagine that every bit of information you want to share with others from an office e-mail to a conversation with friends is communicated just as you wanted.
Imagine those who you are communicating with understand you just as you had intended and misunderstandings are few and far between. With little misunderstanding, needs are understood (and can hopefully be fulfilled), and connections with others are constantly enhanced.
Positive interactions such as these rely on every person taking individual responsibility for their own messages and considering just how he/she is communicating with the world around them. This means: I am responsible for the messages I send.
This also means that you are responsible for the messages you send. Even more, we are each individually responsible for ensuring everything we communicate is received as intended.
So, if I send an urgent e-mail to a coworker and then leave for the day, I need to confirm that my coworker read it and that whatever I urgently needed can be addressed.
I need to confirm. I am responsible.
It means, if you say “Honey, please do this really important thing” in passing, while your kids are screaming, while driving in traffic and listening to your partner’s favorite song, it is your responsibility to make sure your honey heard you and understood the request.
It also means, if we tell our children we love them we should communicate this in a way that they can hear it, that they can feel it and that they can understand it.
Which may or may not be in the middle of an argument or in front of their friends, or via text after asking them to pick up their room. It may not even be words. It may be a hug, or a game of catch, or a few minutes of chatting at the end of a busy day. If we want them to know we love them, we have the responsibility of figuring out how to get this message across.
The responsibility lies with each of us.
Our messages to the world are ours and ours alone.
For better or worse, the responsibility of communicating my messages can only lie with me, and only me. And your messages with you.
The good news is, I can influence my communication (and therefore my relationships) with others by taking responsibility and choosing how I interact with the world, and so can you!
The first step is a big one, and this is it. This.
Just recognizing that you have the responsibility and control over how you interact with, respond to, strike up a conversation with, follow-up on an item with or otherwise communicate with others and that no one else can have this responsibility but you.
So why not focus on being the best message sending, mindful communicator and example of positive influence you possibly can be? Imagine how your interactions would change if you focused on always finding the best, most loving way to share your thoughts and the best way for your audience to hear your message.
Imagine how powerful interactions with others could be if everyone took care in how they shared their words.
While we can’t make everyone else take responsibility, we can start with ourselves. And since no one else can take responsibility for your communication but you, you are a pretty big deal.
And so am I.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Bjorn Bechstein at Flickr