Share on facebook
Share on twitter

This is the Ef Zin insight on Balance that you practice and experience in the program “How to Explore Meaningful Communication“.

There is nothing more isolating than the disconnection from miscommunication. Everyday we share a piece of our story to the people around us. We exchange information about our feelings, our opinions, our experiences and understandings of life. When there’s a disruption in that exchange, it can leave us feeling misunderstood, frustrated, confused, and disconnected. And if we feel like our story has never truly been received, it can even feel lonely.

Communication involves creating and interpreting meaning. Most of us worry about the structure of our sentences or the eloquence of our talk. Within the Ef Zin approach, it isn’t refined speeches and eloquent metaphors that make the difference. But rather, it’s the essence of our simple daily words that can reveal the most meaningful and valuable truths. Communication is meaningful when both parties involved understand all the meanings that are created in the interaction. In exploring the way we communicate, we unlock the messages and stories trying to be conveyed by both parties involved in the dialogue.

When we communicate we need to think of how best to define what we wish to say; what words are appropriate in defining the meaning we wish to communicate. Words are symbols that carry meanings which define our feelings, our thoughts, our intentions, experiences, etc. A single word is rarely enough to define clearly the meaning we try to convey. This is because meaning is clarified through a group of words; the meaning of one word further defines the other and only through this process we can define best a single emotion or thought. This is why we refer to communication as a process of creating meaning as opposed to transferring meaning. We tend to pay attention to what we want to say rather than how we say it, how well we define what we wish to communicate so that the listener understands.

In communication we need to pay attention to the way we structure meaning not the way we structure sentences.

Communication involves creating messages, i.e. meanings. When we communicate we create meaning through the words we use, but when we listen we interpret meaning through the words we listen. Every word is understood differently from culture to culture, group to group and person to person. This means that both parties need to define their use of words when they try to convey a message. For example, the words “affection” and “romance” create a different understanding of lovethan the words “attraction” and “desire”. Depending on the words you use, your listener will draw a different conclusion. And if you don’t use any more specific words to clarify what you mean by “love”, you’re assuming your listener uses the same words to describe love (has the same understanding) as you, when that may not be the case. Your conversation is bound to go in circles or simply crumble in frustration.

In communication we need to pay attention to the way we structure meaning not the way we structure sentences.

Communication involves creating messages, i.e. meanings. When we communicate we create meaning through the words we use, but when we listen we interpret meaning through the words we listen. Every word is understood differently from culture to culture, group to group and person to person. This means that both parties need to define their use of words when they try to convey a message. For example, the words “affection” and “romance” create a different understanding of love” than the words “attraction” and “desire”. Depending on the words you use, your listener will draw a different conclusion. And if you don’t use any more specific words to clarify what you mean by “love”, you’re assuming your listener uses the same words to describe love (has the same understanding) as you, when that may not be the case. Your conversation is bound to go in circles or simply crumble in frustration.

The way we communicate reveals the way we think.

The way you choose to define a feeling or an experience reveals the way you actually think about what you are describing. For example, someone who describes “gender” with the words “biological” and “concrete” has a very different perspective than someone who would use “societal” or “fluid”. Exploring the dynamic between our choice of words and the meanings we build by using them, allows us to check and re-evaluate our own system of thought. We follow the structure of words/meanings in order to trace our path of logic; recognize our reasoning. Your communication is clear when your reasoning is clear. When all the words being used belong to one another; interconnected and constructive in the way they further define and clarify the message/meaning you wish to communicate.

In fact, our biggest problem in communication is our own thought process. Often times we’ll speak, ramble or quickly spit words that don’t really build one coherent structured meaning; but rather present snippets or disconnected pieces of a message. So we embark on a conversation where both parties are lost and further disagreement and frustration follows. But is the discord that follows a problem of miscommunication or true conflict of character? And if it is a conflict of character is it one that can be resolved? Nothing becomes clear unless we manage to establish meaningful communication.

We tend to respond to something in ways that do not reveal our true feelings. For example, they might be saying they’re “angry” when, more specifically, they’re describing feeling “defeated”. You might be arguing about the “garbage”, when the larger truth behind you words is you’re tired of “responsibility”. This happens when we have not processed our feelings, we have not processed our thoughts and therefore fail to clarify the real subject of the discussion.

 Of course, communication allows us to process our thoughts and understand our feelings. But this happens only if we pay attention to the process involved and the way we define each of the steps in the development. So in an argument about whose turn it is to take out the garbage, you should first think of why this has become a problem, then what does taking out the garbage represent, followed by how you feel about whatever it actually represents; making sure that you clearly define what you mean at each step of the way. And of course, because communication entails more than one party, the same holds true for all involved if communication is to be established. It is important that the actual subject of the conversation is revealed and defined for a solution to be found. When our thought is structured it allows for a smoother exchange in communication because meaning is also structured. Allowing both parties to follow each other’s train of thought and understand how each person has developed their meanings, perceptions, and ideas surrounding the topic of conversation.

Through communication we don’t only understand what someone means by what they say, but also truly come to know why they are saying it. Why they feel the way they do, why they believe what they do or why they’ve formed that specific perspective. And this in turn, tells us how we should behave with the person across us. Should we compromise? Should we forgive? Should we follow their advice? Should we reconsider our own opinions? Should we change our behavior? And how? To what degree? In understanding one’s reasoning (through their words) you can recognize their intentions, you can detect their real character, recognize their ideals and values, realize their true intentions, sympathize with the reasons behind their choices and potentially empathize with the emotions behind their words. And as you come to understand the way you both think, you can create meaningful conversations; giving and receiving truthful messages, exchanging each others’ stories.

Our understanding of the significance of words in allowing us to create and interpret meaning, not only affects the quality of our conversations but also influences our quality of living. The way you understand the meaning of “happiness”, with the bank of words and messages you use to define it, greatly influences how you choose to live. How you choose to carry yourself, how you choose to behave, how you connect with your environment and how you evaluate what is meaningful to you. And this is to be said of every individual you encounter and their personal understanding of “happiness”. What happens, then, when these two different understandings of happiness meet? How do you interact with one another? How do you understand one another?

Our communication improves as we become better listeners to our own feelings and thoughts but also to those of the other. When we realize and activate our role in creating and interpreting meaning.

We have an entire seminar devoted to this insight!
Read more about it here:

Discover more Insights

what is your insight on this?

Share in the comments below!

>
Scroll to Top