I’m absolutely terrible at verbal communication. I have no shame in admitting this. That’s the first step right? Admitting you have a problem. I know this about myself. It’s something I’ve spent an entire year actively working on. See what I’ve come to realize is that there is a huge cost to not saying what you mean. Experience has taught me that lesson.
The experience that really drove it home for me happened a few days ago. Though my friend has been gone for over a month now I miss them very much. We still talk almost every day but I found it hard to admit and/or express to them that I was sad that they were gone. Instead I decided to “distance” myself (however one does that from another state) and pull away. Yeah well…that didn’t go over so well. Luckily my friend has gotten very familiar with my little quirks and has infinite patience. They quickly figured out what I was doing. My actions still hurt them though and I felt bad for that. Acting out instead of just saying how I felt could have easily cost me someone who means a lot to me.
When you spend a lot of time with someone who excels at something you’re deficient in it really holds a mirror to yourself. Seeing how easily my friend is able to express themselves and communicate what they want shows me that I have a long ways to go. I see all the ways I lose when I don’t speak on my true feelings. It creates a lack of understanding. It alienates others. I know that I’ve cut ties with others in situations where they’ve spoken words out of anger they didn’t mean. I also think that not saying what you mean keeps you from being true to yourself. Saying yes when you meant no, keeping silent in a moment where it’s crucial to speak up, not providing the information needed for others to understand what you’re feeling or going through, in each of those situations you’re denying your voice.
So, another lesson learned for me. With patience and understanding (and an awesome teacher, my friend) I’m slowly getting it.