Do ya know what I mean?
Obviously, at least to me, the title is a play on the saying “do you know what I mean?” Communication is key to everything we do in life, whether we communicate with God, our spouse, our kids, or even the person we hire to do work for us. When communication breaks down, everything breaks down.
I hope whatever makes its way to this blog will be well communicated. If it is not, feedback and conversation can help make it clear. This blog is what I mean, not anyone else, so feel free to disagree, but do so respectfully and cleanly or you will be eliminated, I mean your comments will be deleted.
The art of debate?
I have a confession to make: I love to ‘set the cat among the pigeons’ or play ‘devil’s advocate’ in order to get a debate going. I have found often that people don’t seem to know what I mean by ‘debate’. A debate is a civil disagreement, if you will. Each side expresses its own opinions and then defends itself to put it in a nutshell. When a debate descends into argument and name calling, it has lost focus and there is no point in continuing. Debate is “iron sharpening iron.” It is a way to learn about what others think and to defend what you believe – to yourself and others.
If you believe what you believe ‘just because’, you do not really believe it. Debate sharpens the mind and helps one learn how to know what he or she believes as well as defend that belief in a real way, using real communication. One thing that associating with others who have different views does for one (in a perfect world) is help you figure out why you believe what you believe. If you know why you believe it, you will be able to defend it. This is crucial for all as we reach into adulthood, having often taken on the beliefs of our parents, and live in a world where others do not believe. It’s alright to believe as one’s parents do, but it needs, at some point, to become real to you. In other words: you must believe it because you believe it and not because others do. This involves self-searching awareness, and is often like pulling the hook when fishing.
I can often tell when a person has genuine, thought out beliefs, not by what they believe, but by how they react with others who disagree. When a person becomes like a rabid dog defending a bone, it tells me something about their belief system. They are not strong enough in their belief system to stand in the face of those who would disagree or challenge them in any way. When you know what you believe, why you believe it and how to defend it, you don’t need to descend into the depths of rage.
It’s all in the filter?
Remember everyone has their own family culture and their own experiences in life, even you, and these things filter how we perceive what others say. This is one of the biggest detriments to real communication, because we’re not always aware of our filters or how to see through the eyes of the other person’s filter. As an example: I once called my husband a ‘slob’. YIKES! You would have thought I called him the worst thing in the world. Why? Because, to him, with his upbringing and his understanding of the word and his filters, it was a horrible word. To me it was just a word that came up in an effort to hurt. It wasn’t true, it was a weapon. I just had no idea how powerful a weapon it was! Now-a-days, I am more careful with my words because they may not mean the same thing to the person I’m talking about. This is also how countries get in trouble because we have different traditions, cultures, meanings, and easily insult one another without meaning to. It works the same way for people, so we have to be open to the idea that our words aren’t always saying what we mean or meaning what we say.