A girlfriend of mine gave me a book recently called "Nonviolent Communication: A language of Life" by Marshall B Rosenberg. I read it to and from my trip to Tampa.
Communication, something we do every day, but few know how to actually, honestly, truly communicate. We've grown up learning how to communicate through what we see our parents doing, what they see their parents doing and so on and so forth. We learn from what we hear on the radio, we learn from the TV shows and Movies we see. The problem here is that we, at our basic level (and I say this as an honest generalization) have found it hard to differentiate stories from reality. The feelings people create stories around aren't as complex as the variety we feel and experience every day. We see people dealing with a certain situation on TV a certain way, so we react similarly without concern or thought to the repercussions or effect it may have on another or even others in the real world. What entertains us is not necessarily a healthy way of living to emulate.
We communicate without confirming we're being understood, truly understood, heard, absorbed. This creates a society of dismissive narcissist and passive aggressive hermits. The thing about being a narcissist is that rarely can they admit to being one. Its not a good or bad thing, it is just a way of living that shuts people off around you and shuts you off to other people. Both states of being close people off to one another.
How long has it been since you had an honest, non judgmental conversation with someone in your family or with a friend? How many times have you asked the other person a question and have gotten the response "I don't know" "nothing" "Whatever". When you get those responses you're not being communicated with/not communicating. I feel very frustrated when I do my best to communicate with another person and get these answers in return because by talking to the person all I want is to communicate with them.
The book "Nonviolent Communication" has really opened my eyes to a new way of communicating that is honest and holds the Toltec Agreements true:
Be impeccable with your word: Say what you mean, don't leave room for interpretation.
Don't take anything personally: When people attack and judge you it comes from their personal feelings and views at the moment of the attack.
Don't make assumptions: Letting thoughts about possibilities is wasted energy when only the other person knows their true feelings. Ask them.
Do your best: Not more than your best, not less than your best. Know your boundaries.