Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beyond Language

            Communicating with language is very difficult with most people that suffer from TBI. We have the idea in our mind, we may even have the sentence on the tip of our tongue, but it just doesn’t come out as we mean it to. As a demonic corollary, the more passionately we feel about something, the less it is likely that we are going to be able to say what we mean.

            The way we try to compensate for this is by taking repeated stabs at it. Stating again and again in different ways what we are trying to say, all the while we feel as though we are losing our audience until we can’t even remember what we were trying to say. AAAARRRGH!

            You would think that we would learn. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open our mouths and remove all doubt. A big part of communication is effectively sharing your anger and frustration and that is not something I have mastered or even feel confident I can explore in an article like this. That is why there are people with degrees making a lot of money dealing with those issues.

            What I would like to talk about is communicating positively with friends and loved ones. Being the kind of communicator that draws people towards you instead of pushing them away.

            We all want someone to talk to. We all want someone who will hear our problems. We do not need someone to solve our problems. We especially don’t need pop-psychologists and their breezy replies like “you just gotta do what makes you happy.” We just want someone who will listen.

There is our solution. Just listen. If people know you as someone who is a good listener they will seek you out. This is an ideal situation for us because it doesn’t matter what you say, what matters is what you don’t say. All you have to say is what they just told you. For example:

Them: “I am really teed off today.”

You: “You’re really teed off?”

Them: “My mom is driving me up a wall.”

You: “Why is your mom driving you up a wall?”

 Them: “Well, today she…”

You get the point I’m sure. Just practice this a little bit and you will be surprised at how people respond. They will find they like spending time with you.

            When it comes to the “international language,” the language of love, we should find ourselves even better off. You will have to make a conscious effort however. You know how when a person is blind their other senses become heightened in order to compensate. The same can be true for verbal communication. All you need to do is watch an old silent movie and you will see that they were able to convey all the drama and pathos without words, maybe even more so than movies with words. If you are in a romantic relationship I suggest that you try an evening with out words. It will be difficult at first, but it gets easier. If someone gets angry start talking! The point of this game is greater communication, if someone gets angry and turns off, then you have stopped communicating and that is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.

            If you only take one point from this article let it be this: When it comes to verbal communication and brain injury, less is more.

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