Hi there!

It has been a few weeks since I wrote here. I had to take a break because we were in the last month of the semester. So, it was as busy as it can get.

In the meantime, though, I was able to contemplate on a few things. So, I will write about some of them in my upcoming posts.

This first one is going to be about communication.

What is communication?

The most objective definition is that it is an exchange of words. But at the same time, this definition is the most barren and leaves out many things.

There is much more to communication than words. For two main reasons.

First, words cannot explain everything. We all have most probably experienced emotions which we could not out into words, right? That is what I am talking about. That is the time when words do not suffice.

Second, which I will focus on here, is that some people are able to see beyond words we say while others cannot. That is what we call connection.

I recently experienced that with my therapist. I gave him all the necessary pieces of information, coupled with gestures that said the same things, but for some reason, he did not see what was beyond what I told him. He was a bit stuck on a generic method that normally works for people (and I know it works from experience, but it was not working for me then). He listened to my words ‘objectively’ and prescribed me that method. And of course, it did not work. The issue here, as far as I can see, is that he did not connect to my words.

Just around those times, a friend that I had just made listened to much less information I gave her on the issues I had and she got the bigger picture. She saw beyond my words. Her suggestions were much more helpful.

I am not aiming to blame my therapist here because I am sure he was able to connect with others. It just did not happen with me. Yes, we all connect with some people and not with others. That is, we can see the hidden meanings beyond some people’s words and not others. What I am trying to say is that sometimes, there is connection and sometimes not. When there is connection, there is communication.

Now, as a linguist, I firmly believe in the power of words. We have those so we can express ourselves. But they are the visible part of iceberg. There is a whole unseen part that we know subconsciously, but not really consciously.

What do you think? What is communication for you? Did you experience similar things? Shoot your ideas!


46 thoughts on “Communication

  1. Obviously communication is a very complicated thing or idea or concept. Considering it as levels of communication also helps, I believe, instead of just black or white. What interests me the most is what stops or prevents communication. I think what stops it is when we don’t disagree well together. Learning to disagree well, together, could be the most important thing we could ever learn and is something that is sorely lacking for most people and hence we simply avoid discussions or communications that can lead to disagreeing. Here is my latest post that might explain this principle and any feedback would be much appreciated.

    1. That is good point! I think being able to disagree is important because that prevents us from losing our identity. If we can keep our identity, that is real communication.

  2. Hi. So happy to read your post after a long time❤️ I hope you are doing well. Communication is the necessary part for any relationship to survive and I agree with your every word. Connection means a lot, because we just communicate with a lot of people,even the shopkeeper or a distant relative. It matters whom we connect with 💕☺️

  3. My husband and I are going through this . . . we “communicate” all the time, mostly through email, numerous times a day. When we communicate face-to-face, we are seeming lately to completely misunderstand each other. Its been super frustrating and shows how difficult communication is. Communication is never stagnant, its constantly moving, like the give and take of waves. But why its so hard sometimes, is sort of beyond me.

    1. That is a hard question. Sometimes, there is just personal barriers, having nothing to do with the person you are communicating with. But communication is hard by its nature because it relies on very abstract deductions about what the person might be thinking, feeling etc. Maybe all its needs is time.

    2. I agree “communication is never stagnant “ ie because we, as individuals are forever evolving and changing and learning so making sure we are helping to bring each other along for the ride is an imperative, I believe and the source for why we communicate, possibly. Yes, patience to help each other understand is the key, I believe.

  4. Fact: While traditional talk therapy works with the conscious mind, 95% of human behavior is driven by the unconscious mind.

    There are modalities, like synergetic therapy, that can access both parts of the mind to produce much better results. It seems, people who have been through like experiences are better able to communicate heart to heart. We hold so very much inside our hearts.

  5. I`ve got the impression that you possibly overstrain people with your expectations. Expectations can be a kind of self-sabotage – in particular if you do not talk about your expectations.
    How shall the other side know what you expect? You`re not the one who makes the rules others have to follow. Everybody is an individual with a personal background, beliefs, values and life experiences. Therefore, people have their very own way of thinking, triggers for emotions, selective perception of the world. Cobsequently, everybody has different expectations.
    Maybe, your therapist acknowledged you well. Maybe, he wanted to give you a lesson. Maybe, it was your task to learn to simply express your thoughts & feelings without expecting others to read between the lines and to guess what you mean but you do not say directly. Maybe, this is one aspect why you are looking for professional help of a therapist.
    It is weird to expect from others to guess right what`s up with you.
    Why are you obviously not able to communicate?
    What are you afraid of?
    Of course, you do not need to answer in this forum. Just food4thoughts…because possibly it was not only a poor match between the therapist and you.
    People who are challenged with communication often have got problems with creating & maintaining healthy relations in general….

    1. You might be right, I definitely do have expectations. But what I am trying to say here is that sometimes, not matter how open you are and whatever you tell (and you might tell everything you know about yourself), sometimes communication just does not happen. So, it is just that some people understand some people without needing many words. When it comes to my therapist, what I was trying to say that this natural connection just did not happen. This is because I told him everything I knew about myself week after week. So it was not like I was holding anything. I genuinely think it was just a connection problem. This might not be the case with another therapist. Also, my therapist might indeed be able to connect better with others, so I am not saying he was bad either. It just did not work with me.

      1. Yes, I understand. Some times it is a matter if “chemistry”.
        I`ve made similar experiences and had the suspicion that I was too much top-heavy (to create/ maintain an inner distance to the topic) instead of being emotional involved while talking. It might be a psychological coping mechanism to better deal with stress. The lack of connection with my partner was a kind of collateral damage of distancing myself from the subject I was talking about. It was a kind of self-sabotage without intent. I suppose this self-defense situation (all shields / walls up) – it is not easy to connect with each other.

      2. Yeah, that is a good point! Maybe I also just had this kind of shield with my therapist that I did not have with my friend. Who knows.

      3. Well, if the shield is subconscious, even I may not know. Right now, it does not feel like I had it, but who knows what my subconscious was doing😂

      4. Yes, the bitch can be quite sneaky…
        Well, …but you`ve already made a start to outsmart her…self-reflection is the key to get to know yourself better including your core beliefs, thinking patterns (that are triggering emotions) and behavioral patterns etc. Finally, all of these aspects will become conscious so that you are able to regain control and manage yourself better. That`s the basic principle of therapies.

      5. …and painful honesty with yourself.No suppressing, no sugar-coating, no externalization etc. but taking responsibility for yourself.

      6. Yes, I kinda know how that feels, because I have been challenging my subconscious for a long time, and it is painful.

      7. I feel with you. But if it hurts, you are on the right way and are doing fine. You can be proud on yourself.

      8. PS: I think, there is always a communication ongoing – even if you do not feel understood.
        Very interesting topic …thank you for the post.

      9. Right. I think of the communication model of Paul Watzlawick & Schulz von Thun with the 4 ears for instance…

      10. There are 4 levels or parts of each messages the receiver of a message can experience. The receiver has got 4 ears: 1) He can understand an appeal /plea; 2) He might receive a message on the level: relationship; 3) He understand the message on a factual level only; 4) Self-revelation of the sender of the message.
        For instance: Message of a co-driver:”The traffic light is green”.
        The driver can understand…1) Drive on!; 2) Next time I will drive bcs you`re a bad driver, I don`t trust you as driver (criticism). 3) The traffic light is green. 4) I am impatient and stressed.

  6. Simply put communication is an exchange of information (meaning). Even simpler, it can be merely an expression or just a response. We are mostly used to of physical/conventional forms of communication in our day to day life. There are other kinds, such as blossoming flowers, moving clouds, flowing rivers, etc. Then there are other subtle form of communications going on inside our own head.

    There is one thing that is common in all kinds of communications i.e. meaning. This meaning has to be shared for a communication to take place. In the absence of this shared meaning people spend years under the safe roof as complete strangers.

    Shared meaning is the essence of any communication. I guess that could be the reason why your friend understood you immediately whereas your therapist failed.

  7. Betul, this piece is so insightful. There are so many layers of communication. I love your iceberg analogy! 🙌🏻 Your friend is a gifted communicator. Seeing the big picture and connecting to the subconscious and emotions is the “special sauce” of communication.

    1. Thank you! I think seeing beyond words means seeing the meaning behind them, which is actually the big picture. Because words are products of our patterns.

      1. You’re right, and there’s so much research being done on the subconscious! 😊 The mind can be tricky, but the body doesn’t lie.

  8. I have a therapist now that ‘gets me’ so I totally understand. I spent a lot of time talking to different therapists and them not getting it and I am of the mind that unless they do, it doesn’t work.

  9. I feel like words getting across to the recipient really depends on a lot of factors like culture, education, sympathy or empathy and lived experiences. The example of your therapist shows that the person understands you on a shallow level and sometimes our words have underlying meanings that people with similar lived experiences would understand. I used to go to a therapist who got me on most subjects but on one specific topic it seemed that he understood but didn’t get the inderlying meaning which was probably due to cultural barriers.

    1. I have had that too. You need to ‘click’. Therapists are people too and just like we cannot connect with everyone, we cannot connect with all therapists.

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