Monday, September 24, 2007

Head + Heart

The unfortunate nature of the human race is that we are terribly adverse at communication. I'd say most of the time I'm struggling to be heard--partly because I feel ignored or partly because I just can't express what I mean and feel. Thinking simultaneously with your heart and your head, and then trying to present all that in an honest and honoring way, is really tricky.

God is a God of order and of peace, not of confusion. So when I get so horribly confused and frustrated about the disorder of human communication, I have to remember that it's truly not God's plan. My default actions run in this order: fix, fight, flight. If I can't make everything better, I'll really fight to be heard. And if none of that works, I bail. I retreat physically or emotionally. While all of these responses are sometimes necessary and appropriate, it's not the pattern I want to follow every time I have something to express.

Peace, affirmation, and confidence should be the cornerstone of my approach to communication. If all that crumbles, then so be it, but at least I'm starting out with good intentions. Building each other up, creating spaces where it's safe to be who we are, and really listening to one another are so important.

As I strive to be more in touch with my own heart, I see my communication patterns becoming more complex in all areas of my life. A meeting with my dissertation adviser, a phone call from my parents, a comment from a pastor, a conflict with my partner... all somehow elicit really huge and emotional responses from me. So much so that I don't know what to do with it.

It would be easier if I just sought to live up to the stereotype that women are too emotional to deal with things and to irrational to be rational. But that's not me... I'm horribly rational and horribly emotional. So I can analyze (or over-analyze) every situation and then let my heart overflow about it. It's just trying to integrate my head and my heart in a way that doesn't completely overwhelm me that seems impossible. I'll get there, I just don't know when.

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