I was thinking this morning about the art of communication. I consider myself lucky that my nature is mostly benign, because I’ve always been direct, to the point and, at times, blunt. In the past, my children would say, “Mom! That’s rude!”
“What is?” I’d ask.
“The way you just talked to that lady.”
“Really? I thought I was explaining our situation.”
I have learned some things (from my children and others) about communication. We can speak our truths “in their face,” or communicate the very same thing in a way that is not discourteous or that does not intimidate the person. My Higher Self asked me to see with compassionate eyes. What is he or she (the clerk, waiter, checker, etc.) feeling right now?
I imagined what the moment looked like from his or her point of view. Sometimes I’d turn around and see what they see: fifteen people in line and no one to help. Poor management? Did someone call in sick? Whatever the reason, as my children taught me, we don’t have to add to the stress by being angry with those on the front line who did not make the crappy lunch or cause the flight delay or decide how many clerks should open their cash registers. They’re caught up in the mess just like us—and they’re vastly underpaid, by the way.
Rude behavior causes many people’s minds to go into overload and they can’t hear what we’re saying, which is the opposite of what we really want. In some cases, the person we’re assaulting (yes, being rude is a form of mental/emotional assault) will get even. An airport employee was short-tempered with me and I was happy to return the favor. She sent my luggage to the layover city, instead of checking it through to my destination. She was happy to be the instrument of my instant karma. (And I’m sure her attitude came back to her at some point, too. Am I delighted that negativity comes back to the doer? Though ‘we reap what we sow’ is a universal law, no, I’m not. It’s a waste of precious life-energy for all parties. It’s far better to treat everyone, including ourselves, with respect.)
Going at problem-resolution with a condescending or angry attitude is ineffective. Communicating our needs is an art. To be effective, we look to see what the other person perceives, and share some compassion and a calm demeanor. This behavior is a touch of light, like a fairy godmother sprinkling kindness over the people and situation. Next time you’re tempted to be angry with someone trying to wait on you, take a deep breath, close your eyes until you sense your ‘fairy godmother,’ reopen them and give that person a great big smile. You can do it. It’s an aspect of growing up.