The Voice Of Fear


Have I made myself absolutely clear?


I believe that two people have truly communicated when they can see themselves from the other person's perspective. One has to understand not just what the other person is saying, but also how he or she "feels" about the message. If being literal was all people needed, communication would be easy. It would be like watching a movie in which the actors just read their lines with no emotion. But that's not how people communicate -- we need to hear and feel what the other person is saying, and we do that in one of two ways: with fear or with the heart.


The fear route involves interpreting what the other person is saying by comparing it to past experiences. Fear will extract anything that scares the listener based on past experiences and frame what is said based on those perceptions. For example: If a person tells you about issues with overspending and that he or she is trying to change this behavior, and you have had a poor experience with a person like this in the past, all you will hear is how this person might put you at risk as the person from your past did. From that point on, you will interpret everything the person says in a negative light -- or, you may not hear them at all.


In general, the act of interpretation is a mechanism of fear. It is fear's job to interpret situations to find the danger. To counteract this, you must interpret what others say with an open heart. In the situation above, listening from the heart allows you to ask questions about the behavior and how he or she plans to change it, and feel the responses from the other person's point of view. You might find that the person has truly committed to change and is much less of a risk to you than someone who doesn't acknowledge having a problem.


We go to movies where writers and directors direct our emotions  with the script. Film trailers focus on what that direction is,  whether it's “the feel good movie of the year” or “a love story that will restore your faith in romance.” Successful movies take us to places we want to go emotionally, even if the plot is tragic or sad. When a movie fails to do this, we walk out of the theater feeling cheated or let down. 


Good communication is more than just listening. It requires you open your heart like you are in a dark theater watching a good movie mystery. You aren't just listening to the lines, you are looking for clues to solve the mystery.

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