In this age of gross deconstructing, the by-product of post-modernism, misunderstanding is as inevitable as the air we breathe. The mind of man today has its own self-decided meaning of words and expressions independent of standardized dictionary interpretations. Apart from this postmodern challenge, we can say that man interpret words and expressions 80% of the time according to his own current (emotional) experience and 20% is left to objective meaning.
So, we are in the days when we have to labor intensely to ensure that what we intend to say is what the hearer hears and understands. But I must say that while words have standard meanings, how can we then serialize and standardize emotions especially when we don’t get to know all the categories of emotions turning back and forth in a person?
Therefore, when we get a response that we didn’t anticipate in a conversation, especially when we cannot connect that reaction to what has been said, you know that “thoughts” are not key interpreters for most people but “feelings”. The average person is lost in their emotions and to break through the fog of prejudice on the screen of their minds will not happen by a casual wave of a magical wand. Emotions are delicate things and man is unrepentantly loyal to his feelings and will not back down to consider your views unless you acknowledge his struggles (by entering into his world).
Learning how to manoeuvre such crisis in a friendly conversation or even in high level disputes is critical for today’s global thinker. Hence, it will be necessary for us to always take time to understand what is really going on in a person’s mind as we try to propagate our own agenda. Without this preliminary caution, every thought you are trying to engender gets “thoughtlessly” colored according to the prevailing emotional mood of your audience and you can’t even cry foul or raise an objection to what seems to be an unfair verdict on your intentions.
This is a strategy I have been using for quite a while now and I even had to intensify my commitment to it much recently in order to be effective in all my interactions. This is critical, I must say! Some might say, “Why must I always put myself behind other people’s whims…?” It depends on how you see it. To me, effectiveness is more important than rightness. Do I want to be understood in all conversations? Certainly. Then I know that I must put myself through all that. I must seek to understand before I can be understood.
And if after seeking to understand and there seems to be no progress, effectiveness for me will have to get modified slightly. Time is of essence. Not everyone will be agreeable to me. And just like the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.” I better know the difference between a temporary barrier to communication and what looks like a permanent one. “…thank you very much; I have more important things to do”.
Credit: Image from Google