How often do I presume that those who know me, those with whom I live, know what I am thinking?
After sitting down with a very large number of couples, either for marriage or are already married, or simply friends, I have learnt how easy it is to presume that the other should know what the other prefers and wants.
Sure, it becomes easier to have a very good idea of what the other wants or is even thinking when people have been together for a long time. However, it is a mistake to presume that one is always accurate about this presumption.
We are a mystery unto ourselves, let alone to another!
Living in community as I have, for many years, I have continued to be reminded many times to keep reflecting on how I am communicating with the ones I live with.
I have had the benefit of living with people from many cultural backgrounds. Different cultures communicate in different ways. What may appear quite casual and friendly to one culture can be perceived as ‘crass’ or ‘rude’ to another.
I keep learning how important it is not to try to change others, but to respect them.
Sure, we all have shadows that need changing, we all need to keep growing. However, respect is so fundamental in all relationships. I cannot expect others to act like me or be like me!
Listening is a very important aspect of communication. I remember hearing, as a young man, that we have one mouth and two ears! Maybe I need to listen twice as much as I speak.
Body Language is also a very important aspect of communication. The way I look at someone, the way I fold my arms, or how I lean when I speak, and so many other mannerisms, are all aspects of communication.
Taking time is a wonderful gift that we give to each other. We are so often on the run. It often takes a decision to stop and be with someone for a while.
For some years now when people ask me if I am busy, I often say ‘life is rich’. Busy can often be understood as ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I have more important things to do than be with you’.
We need to recapture the art of ‘wasting time with family and friends, with the lonely elderly person, or neighbour or workmate, etc’.
We, of course, need to ‘waste’ time with God. As we prayerfully reflect on our relationships in the light of the Gospel, we open ourselves to guidance and wisdom from the Holy spirit.
The more that I reflect on how I relate to others and to God, the more I get to know myself.
Unless a grain of wheat dies, it does not bear fruit.
The more I die to the ego and unhealthy self-obsession, the more I get to know my true self.
We are on our life journey together. When I give myself, I find myself.