• It's not about the nail...

    • Mary Larkin
    • 10th October 2016
    I watched this short video recently and started thinking about the way we communicate Is it about the nail or is it about communication? Communication – that precious little word that is bandied about in all walks of life. We are told it’s a two way street and believe this to be true in theory.

    However, how many times do we find ourselves communicating effectively? Perhaps you have been in the position with a friend, colleague or loved one when you believe you know what’s best, you have the solution. Is this truly the case? Most likely not.

    How many times do we chose to look beyond the tears, ignore the angry vent and dive straight into giving advice on how to fix the problem as we see it, or revert to talking about ourselves and similar situations we have experienced. Sometimes we just need to step back, pause and listen, really listen. It’s not only about what the person is saying but also about what they are not saying. It wasn’t the part of the iceberg that was above the water that sank the titanic.

    Rather than giving the response we think they need (which is often to ease your own discomfort), accepting that right now there may be no solution available or needed for the particular situation.

    As humans we tend to live in memories and dreams. We remember the past and project our experiences onto the future. It is true to say that we can learn from our past which can positively affect our future. However, the past we cannot change and the future we do not own. Its right here, right now that’s ours. It’s about how the person is feeling now, not about how they have messed up, or how much better they can do in the future.

    Very often the last thing we need is to have our shortcomings or errors pointed out to us by others particularly when all we need is a friendly ear. It can be so difficult to see the people we love and care for struggling or upset. Sitting in the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to make it better for the other person is hard. Setting aside our need to control or to fix things allows us to be useful or of service to the other person. It allows us to take the path of meaningful communication where answers, if needed can be found and real healing can take place.

    The nail maybe all that we can see at first, the instinct is to focus on the problem and find a solution. Instead of escalating the emotions and frustrations, we have an opportunity to slow down the pace, catch our breath and reaffirm that we can be trusted and counted on. Rather than focus on fixing the problem, how about understanding, listening and accepting, powerful tools to true communication. By trying to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes gives us the best chance at being able to respond in a supportive and helpful way.

    Perhaps .......it’s not about the nail right now!