Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 20-How to Truly Be Heard

A couple days behind, but coming back from a really great visit with my mother-in-law. I figured that in terms of relationship-building, actual conversation trumped virtual conversation. So getting back to business...

Still on the topic of conversation, the book states that a way to strengthen your communication skills is to model Jesus's example in three ways:
-Give a gentle touch
-Ask the right questions
-Paint pictures with words

Not to toot my own horn, but I felt like I have a good grasp on the last two. I am a very visual person, so I like to give a lot of examples and detail to have a story "painted" as I tell it. I am sure you've seen me get a little colorful even when I write. And this is not always a good thing. I have been known to make a short story long and a long story even longer. So if anything, I need to practice painting smaller pictures with my words--like maybe go for stick figure pictures in certain conversations...anyway, moving along!
I think I mentioned that I have a degree in Communication. My minor was in Philosophy. So I am a pretty big questions-asker also.

What I am not is touchy-feely. Yes, I am a woman and I am highly emotional and I cry during chick flicks, sweet moments, and the occasional sappy pilot for a dramatic tv show. That is not what I'm talking about...
What I mean is that I am not big on physically touching somebody (aside from my children or my husband) as I talk to them. I just don't do it. I guess it has to do a lot with our society and its views about personal space.

But I am not against using touch as a means to communicate if the moment is right for it. The books says, "There is something about a sincere touch on the hand or the shoulder that communicates, 'We're in this together.' Never underestimate the power of the human touch."

Reading this passage made me really think about all of the times a little touch did a whole lot for me.

-The first kiss: The first time my husband kissed me, it was on the hand. Tell me that wouldn't melt your heart, ladies!
-The first touch: Scientists/doctors call it "quickening." Mothers call it the first time a child moves in the womb and they are large enough for the mother to feel it. For me, it was the first time that I realized I was carrying a wonderful, beautiful, completely independent being inside of my own body. And even as they grew bigger and lodged themselves in my ribs and kicked smack-dab on my bladder, I will never forget how uniquely wonderful their touch was.
-Holding hands: When my newborn babies grabbed a hold of my finger, there was nothing else in the whole world like it. There is so much power in that little touch.
-My children's hugs: It doesn't matter what kind of a day I'm having...if my son runs up to me full-speed with a big grin on his face and nearly knocks me over as he wraps his arms around me and buries his little face in my knees--it has suddenly turned into a good day :) (Sammi's is more at waist-height now, but the same thing applies!)
-A much-needed embrace: This one was just a few weeks ago, but I was at church on Sunday when one of the women from my MOPS group came and stood beside me. I don't know if I was just really missing my husband that day or if the worship service just had me a little extra emotional, but for whatever reason I was crying. Not anything obvious--just a couple of quiet tears. Well, I guess she noticed them, because without warning she reached over and embraced me and put her head onto my shoulder. Normally, in this situation I would have felt pretty weird, but this time I just felt very loved.

People always say that actions speak louder than words. And I guess loving actions can just as easily speak in place of words. I am not saying that I am going to go around hugging every person I see on the street (don't worry, babe!) but I will try to be more aware of instances when a gentle touch is needed--and go for it.

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