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Communication Goals

I’ve had this quote (“Jesters do oft prove prophets,” from King Lear) on various of my walls for about the last twenty years, ever since I saw a live version with a friend at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I picked up a beautiful piece of art with the quote on it and fell in love. It’s not my favorite of Shakespeare’s tragedies (not enough ghosts), but I’d always enjoyed it. And really, I’ve been meditating and marinating on and in this quote for…  a while now. And humor certainly is a way that we humans can say difficult things – both the sort of things other people don’t want to hear, and the sort of things we have a hard time admitting to ourselves.

Honestly, one of the things it makes me think deeply about is the way we communicate with one another, and with ourselves. Because sometimes it is just so damn hard to be clear, honest, and direct, even if we agree in theory it might be a better way. And there’s a lot hindering a person from doing it automatically in every situation, this clear, honest, direct communication:

And you know, if the first one is your issue, I feel you so much. It wasn’t my cradle language, either. God bless my two best friends from my graduate school and seminary experience; I was hell on wheels as they taught me and kept me accountable.

If the second one is your issue, there are always options, always things that can be done about that, if you decide its worth your while. Talking with a therapist or a close friend might be step one.

If the third one is totally not your problem, you just happen to be completely normal I have two questions for you:

1. If you have something difficult and important to discuss with someone trustworthy in your life, do you (choose as many as apply to you):

2. If you have been hurt by the words or actions of someone trustworthy in your life, do you (choose as many as apply to you):

These are two general scenarios which are fairly common in human life, so you’ve probably encountered them in the last year, at least. If you chose any answer but Z, congratulations! You have at least once in the last year failed to engage in clear, honest, and direct communication asap with someone who was trustworthy in your life (ie, someone safe enough to do so, and who actually deserved it). It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means your communication style isn’t quite what you thought was. (Welcome to the club.)

But as GI Joe taught me at a young age, ‘knowing is half the battle.’ As I have learned at a somewhat older age, the other half is in realizing that life is not a battle, it’s a rescue mission. And we’re all going home.

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