Archive for September, 2008

Projection, Perception and Communication

September 21, 2008

Communication has been a tricky business because perception can be misunderstood as reality.

Now consider that there are as many realities as there are people. We have agreements to share larger realities such as the collective, global or cultural reality. We also have personal realities that overlap and can become quite confusing.

In Process Coaching we use the metaphor of the Movie to explain how this works.
http://processcoaching.com/movies.html

The story of the blind men and the elephant also illustrates this phenomenon quite well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant. There are a few versions of the story. What it comes down to is the fact that we often don’t see the whole picture, and our perception of reality is very personal, and often completely different from another’s.

Communication is the bridge and the challenge of relating to another’s reality. When we communicate we tend to forget that our version of the story is only part of the story (except to ourselves). As we navigate through our overlapping realities together, and we humans love to be around each other regardless of the complications, we get so caught up in our own version. We start to believe that our reality is all there is.

It is partly true.  For the individual it is true, but we live together and agree to reflect and play roles for each other so that we can experience more of who we are beyond our egos. To know ourselves completely, we hire people to mirror what we love and don’t love about ourselves. For what reason? To know ourselves completely and see what we cannot see. We continue to hire people until we realize who we are–that which we love and deny in ourselves which is reflected in others.

So communication is not only the means and the opportunity to bridge the different realities so that we can be with each other and know ourselves but also to share, relate and learn with each other. It can be trying at times, and at other times quite pleasurable. Even the most heated discussions or fights can be fun and enlightening if we remember that we each have our own version.

Communication is a skill that takes a lifetime of trial and error at different rates for all of us. Some people are more comfortable with the emotional and body aspect of communication. Others are more comfortable with the words and mind in communication. We have our habits and our patterns, our beliefs and our experiences to grapple with as well.

So how do we manage at all? The best we can. First, listen. Hear each other out, one at a time. Agree to disagree, but express what it feels like instead of blaming each other. No one is at fault, even in the worse cases. We really are doing the best we can with the tools we have. Find more tools and help if needed. If you walk away, give it time. And keep the bridges open for as long as possible to let in the possibility for love, the light of understanding and ultimately compassion, to come through.


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