When I opened the “add new post” window just now, and the blank form was staring at me, demanding to be filled in so I can keep up with this 30-day blog challenge (this is day 20 of 30!), my mind simply said: “Well? What’re you gonna write about today?”
And the subject line just came to me in a flash, like a wonderful inspiration: Visualize Whirled Peas!
I probably should’ve thought of this on Earth Day last week, but as my fifth grade teacher, Sister Mary Joseph, always said: Better late than never! (And then she’d mumble the postscript: “And better never late.” Which left us scratching our young heads in puzzlement.)
The line “Visualize Whirled Peas” was on a bumper sticker I saw years ago, I think it must’ve been in the early or mid-1990s. Wow, last century!
But it reminds me now of how often we mis-communicate without intending to. Obviously, a pun or double-entrendre is meant to be a word play that gives you pause, perhaps makes you chuckle as you “get it” and then you go on about your day.
Yet so many times we don’t understand each other and we act on our mis-understanding. Then we can’t figure out why the other person is so annoyed or even angry at what we’ve done. This happens at work a lot, and usually supervisors and managers learn to put in place a system for verifying that each person on their team understands what they are supposed to be doing. They use follow-up memos and meetings to be sure everyone is on track. Clear communication is the key to getting the work done correctly.
And that’s fine for an office or factory where you expect to have at least a binder or two stuffed with all the rules and regs laid out for you.
In our personal relationships? It gets trickier. Nobody likes to be “told” what they are supposed to be doing. Usually spouses and kids bristle at what sounds like a lot of rules and “you should”s. So we have to sneak them into a conversation, and using humor is often a great way to do that smoothly.
Next time you need to communicate something to your mate, for example, and you know it’s a hot topic, why not pave the way with something light? Just because the topic is a heavy one doesn’t mean you have to treat it with a long face and somber mood. Keep it “light and polite” — say something like, “Hey honey, you know how I always seem to have a lot of drama in my life? Could you indulge me for five minutes after dinner and let me tell you the latest big deal I’ve got going on in my life. I’d really appreciate your input!”
Take a moment and think how you’d react if someone approached you that way, compared to suddenly blasting you with a problem at the end of the day, just as you reached for the remote to turn on your favorite TV show after dinner.
Choose your timing, speak up, don’t apologize for feeling upset about an issue but don’t over-dramatize it, be willing to see their viewpoint, and ask for a hug when you’re done. Also, keep it short. Sure, you’ve been thinking about this for weeks or months (or maybe your whole life, and you’ve finally dug up the courage to discuss a Big Issue) — but remember that this is your agenda. As far as the other person sees it, you’re launching a stealth missile if you blast them with an hour of complaints you’ve been brooding over.
Think it through first, then keep it to the top 2 or 3 main points you want to make. Take a deep breath, and then do it — you’ll find that on-target communication isn’t so hard after all.
And your days of mis-communication (a huge stress builder) will come to an end.
your happiness guru,