The Dance of Non-Verbal Communication

I have been taking a couple’s dance class recently, which has been making me think about the importance of non-verbal communication.  It is absolutely imperative in social dancing.  The man has to clearly communicate what he wants the woman to do, and she needs to be able to interpret things correctly in order to follow his non-verbal directions.  That is such a perfect metaphor for any kind of relationship because both communicating and interpreting are very important.

Some people give off very few non-verbal cues as to what they are thinking or feeling. That makes them hard to read and can lead to confusion, playing guessing games, or even tip-toeing around issues because the other person may not know how that person will react.  That’s been my experience, anyway.  On the other hand, I have experience with people who give off almost too much non-verbal communication.   Continue reading

The Reason For Tragedy And Heartbreak

No one likes to experience either one of these or watch our friends and loves ones have to experience them either.  Whether it’s a tragic accident, an unforeseen break-up, a suicide attempt, some form of hardship, the death of loved one or favorite celebrity, or any number of other situations, these experiences can be painful, devastating, and gut-wrenching.  We sometimes ask ourselves all kinds of questions including why it had to happen or what we (or whoever else) did to deserve whatever happened.  Some people really struggle with the answers to these and other questions.

To me, these things are there as reminders for us of so many things…

  • that life is precious and fragile and can be taken away at an instant
  • that nothing and no one should be taken for granted
  • that we are stronger and more resilient than we think we are
  • that we can face our fears and overcome them
  • that change is sometimes a good thing
  • that the people and relationships in our lives are more important than things
  • that we need to continually remind our loved ones how much they are loved
  • that others may seem fine on the outside but are struggling on the inside
  • that we need to be kind and understanding to one another and really listen
  • that we shouldn’t sweat the little things
  • that sometimes our words and actions are more hurtful than we realize
  • that we should accept and celebrate our differences
  • that together we are stronger, and so on.

Most of all, I think they are reminders that we need to continually take a step back and be grateful for what we have, even if it’s not much.  There is always something positive we can find to be thankful for, and there are always so many people going through situations that are far worse than our own. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Of course, this is all easier to think about when we are not the person going through the particular tragedy or heartbreak or while we are not in the midst of it ourselves. We may never get over the pain or disappointment of the given circumstances, but hopefully at some point we can at least get to a place where we have a more positive perspective of why these things happen and what they were trying to teach or remind us.  I don’t think enough people stop and consciously think about and appreciate all the positives in their life. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t need so many reminders.

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Pushing People Away

It amazes me how many people I know who would rather push people away than work on making any changes that they can to improve a relationship, regardless of the type of relationship.  I guess it’s easier than doing some self-reflection and realizing that you are part of the problem and need to make some changes, apologize, and/or make up for something.  I do understand how hard it is to make changes for the better, even if you do realize that you need to do so.  But why is it so easy to do the opposite and behave even worse, which only pushes the other person away?

I’ve experienced this in different forms over the years, and I feel like I’ve been pushed so many times, that it doesn’t take much for me to push back at this point.  I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.  It’s hard to step back from that, and it makes it even more difficult to take steps in the right direction.  And it’s challenging to refrain from reacting the same way or even worse each time to the same repeated behavior.  Trying to keep motivated to make improvements when you feel like you are the only one who is interested in making the effort becomes difficult too.

It’s definitely easier to blame others for everything instead of admitting that you have made mistakes, have failed at something, or have flaws.   Continue reading

Maintaining Middle Ground

With some people, there doesn’t ever seem to be a middle ground.  Everything is black or white, all or nothing.  Either you’re on their side or completely against them.  I definitely know more than one person who fits this description, and it makes communication quite difficult sometimes.

One of the things that is difficult is trying to get a point across without them over-interpreting things as I sometimes call it, is the fact that they tend to interpret things as being one extreme or the other.  And unfortunately, the worst possible interpretation seems to be the one of choice most of the time.   Continue reading

Holding Grudges

grudges

The topic of grudges has been on my mind lately because I recently had a friend admit that she was upset about something that I DIDN’T say (or didn’t say enough) to her last year.  This came out in relation to something she was upset about recently, and it became apparent that she has been holding a grudge about last year and exhibiting passive aggressive behavior towards me in the meantime.  And then when she finally did express her frustration, she didn’t hesitate to include some insults and other very hurtful things.  I would have preferred that she said something a year ago instead, rather than let it affect how she has treated me since then.

Ironically, she is generally pretty quick to tell other people if there is something they have done or said that bothers her.  That’s the other extreme, where we don’t hesitate to point out every little thing.  But that can be difficult NOT to do with the people who continue to repeat the same patterns of behavior that irritate us or hurt our feelings. It’s hard to resist the urge when it happens so frequently.  I can relate to both of the situations, as I too have people in my life who are repeat offenders with plenty of negative behaviors, but I have also hesitated to tell her things that she has done in the past that I didn’t like.  I was willing to overlook the negatives with her because the positives outweighed them.

I understand that it’s difficult to tell people we care about that they have hurt our feelings or disappointed us somehow, especially if we don’t think they are going to react very well.  Or perhaps it’s a matter of not wanting to upset the fruit basket, so to speak.  Unfortunately, when we don’t speak up, things fester, and little things become bigger than they should.  And when we finally have the courage to say something, it often doesn’t come out in the most constructive way. Once my buttons were pushed, it wasn’t difficult to let her know about the negatives I was no longer willing to overlook, just as she was not hesitant to say hurtful things to me.

Neither complaining frequently nor choosing to not say something at all are necessarily the best way to go about dealing with frustration or hurt feelings. Listening to someone complain all the time gets very old and can be mentally draining at times. Yet, holding onto negative feelings for a long time can be just as toxic.  Both can tip the scale so that it seems like there are more negatives than positives in whatever type of relationship.  Somewhere in the middle is probably the best approach where we pick our battles, so to speak, and find a way to constructively point out the things that bother us the most and try to let go of the less significant things. Otherwise, we run the risk of having to decide if we are willing to let go of the friendship or relationship that has become toxic instead.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.

Coping With Conflict

peace:conflict

Conflict can’t possibly be avoided.  It appears to be everywhere, especially in my house. I even have family members who seem to enjoy creating conflict where there shouldn’t be any.   Everyone has different ways of dealing with it too, including within my family.  That’s what makes it challenging.  Of course, it would be nice if there was a lot less conflict to begin with because people were more tolerant, respectful, and cooperative and less stubborn, impatient, and selfish.  Unfortunately, I don’t see those things changing too quickly.  What would be REALLY nice is if there were better coping skills for dealing with the conflict because while we can’t control what other people do or say or what is happening around us, we can control how we react to it, at least some of the time. Continue reading

Guys and Girls Being Friends

This is a topic that has bothered me for many years now …. the notion that men and women can’t be friends unless at least one of them is attracted to the other romantically and/or physically.  This is what some people I know believe to be true. This might be the case for some people, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily true for everyone.  In addition, it seems like there is often an automatic assumption when people of the opposite sex (assuming we are talking about heterosexuals) are seen together that they must somehow be involved in a relationship, legitimate or not, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are friends or relatives.  I’m sure this happens though as well when two people of the same gender who are known to be gay or lesbian are seen together.

I grew up surrounded by boys and have always had plenty of guy friends, some of whom I have been more than friends with at some point.  Others I did have a little crush on or I knew they liked me, but it remained a friendship in spite of the fact that one of us was interested in something more with the other person.  I have also had numerous other guy friends over the years with whom I only wanted to be friends and vice versa.  The problem is that I keep having to explain that we’re just friends, especially if it is someone I have remained friends with after being in a relationship with them previously.  I should be able to say that we’re friends, period, and not have to say “just friends”.  I really wish that some people wouldn’t have that automatic suspicion just because we’re of the opposite sex. Continue reading