Communication is an on-going life skill. I have been told that it takes a lifetime to develop. As someone in their fourth decade of life, I have come to the conclusion that communication is the most necessary life skill that we can ever have or develop. Furthermore, I further believe that communication is never a fully developed skill, but one we work on from the moment we understand communication until we no longer have the mental, physical and emotional triad of abilities available to us for communication.
It would be fantastic if we studied and practiced communication for a particular length of time and then achieved a trophy with our ranking …. however, life is not a video game and that does not happen. An individual may be an expert in one area and able to communicate clearly and effectively there. This does not mean that in all additional areas of their life they are equally developed and eloquent in their communication abilities. Every situation presents a unique opportunity for learning and developing communication.
It has become apparent to me that communication skills are something that I desire in relationships. The degree, depth, frequency and capability fluctuate based on the situation and capability of the individual with which I am attempting to communication. Obviously, I would not expect the same level of interaction from my 8 year old child that I would expect from her father. He is a grown adult in his 30’s with experience in communication, a career and post-secondary education. She is a child just beginning to comprehend the nuances of communication, as well as the English language and is still early in her formal education.
What I do expect in communication from every individual that I interact with is honesty. Your education, language and personal skills do not make a difference in honesty in communication. That honesty must begin with yourself. If you cannot be honest in your inner dialogue and realizations then you can never be honest with external dialogue and relationships. Lack of honesty kills healthy relationships.
Having manners and being polite is important in relationships. However, if we feel encumbered by rules and unable to speak freely then we have gone too far. It is okay to disagree with someone you care about. Disagreeing with another individual can happen in a respectful manner. Expecting that there will never be a disagreement in a relationship is unrealistic. Acting badly, bullying and manipulation because someone disagrees with you is childish and there is no place for that in a healthy relationship.
Treating individuals you communicate to with openness, honesty and respect will never go badly for you. Even if the other individual acts badly you do not need to respond in kind. Having integrity is vital to establishing a community that can sustain and support you in your life.