When we’re not clear with ourselves about who we are and what we want it’s impossible to have clear and effective communication with others. We’ll make things up (consciously or unconsciously), and we’ll take things personally because we don’t really know what we feel or believe. Until we get clear about what we feel, and learn to express this with nonviolent diction, we’re only fooling ourselves.
Growing up I learned to be a perfectionist because it provided a way for me to feel like I had some control in my life. What I didn’t realise was that the OCD behaviour allowed me to avoid being clear with what I was feeling and thinking. I focused my attention on attempting to control external minutia instead of actually being in the present moment. In short, perfectionism became a form of escapism.
❝Once I found out who I really was, that’s when I started growing.❞
Throughout most of my life, I thought I knew what I wanted. But because I was unclear inside I charged through the world heedless and imprudent, chaotic, stiff, unreachable, seemingly uncaring, and at times even callous and abrasive. In contrast, a quiet voice deep within was trying to bring awareness to the fact that I was using force in an attempt to hide my lack of self-knowledge and understanding. I didn’t know what clarity encompassed nor how to be clear. I’d never been taught these things—not by my parents, and most certainly not by society.
Sporadically, people appear in our life who speak carefully, coherently, clearly, and with intention to connect in the spirit of love and generosity. They are our potential teachers. A long-time friend of mine is a wonderful representation clarity. He’s a true joy to be with. My experience of him is that he’s exceptionally clear with himself, his objectives, his family, and in his work and personal interactions. He listens, thinks, asks questions, and communicates effectively. These are traits that draw people to him. His clarity is also a reason why he’s so successful in his business which has as a central tenant to help people improve their knowledge and understanding, and how to use them with intention and fun. (He would, of course, be modest in accepting this complement and make clear that he’s not perfect either.)
❝I got clear about who I was, and that’s how I found peace.❞
Being clear with ourselves requires work. It’s challenging. It’s also rewarding because we experience deeper and more meaningful connections—with ourself, with others, and with the world around us.
It’s essential that we spend at least a few minutes every day in quiet with ourself. Just be. Just listen. Become clearer in your speech—not just how you say something but also what you say. Be precise. Align it with your heart’s purest depths.
Marshall B. Rosenberg’s audiobook “Speaking Peace” is a wonderful exploration into what he named nonviolent communication. Marshall taught that “when you convey what is alive in you, your true feelings, and the values and desires behind them, you establish honest, nurturing relationships that eventually fulfil everyone’s needs.”