I love words! I truly adore language and what we can express using our words, whether written or spoken. Now, English is the only language I speak and read, so one might think that there is little room for misunderstanding… well, I continue to learn how much wiggle room there really is in that area.

Lately, I’ve been working with a couple of amazing coaches on a project that is very important to me. As part of this coaching, I am also included in a small group. Incredibly supportive and everyone is helpful. It’s a great big, whopping stretch for me, but I am learning and enjoying every step of the way.

Having said that, I woke this morning with a very clear understanding that the primary message these amazing coaches have been sharing with me, truly from day #1 is one that I am continuing to understand. No, the words aren’t complicated. Yes, the message is straight forward, direct and they have communicated it many times using various scenarios. Still, I am very aware this morning that my own filters were preventing me from fully taking in the message.

This is not at all unusual when we are experiencing something that involves strong emotion. Our own thoughts and feelings help us to take in certain messages while filtering out others. At times, we take in some of the message and it’s as though the rest is sitting on a shelf, waiting until we have the time or perhaps the ability to revisit and understand at another level. Natural, normal, human stuff.

While some of this can be deliberate, most of the time we have no awareness that this is happening. This can lead to upset, and all sorts of unexpected feelings.

How can we avoid this? I’m so glad you asked! One of the things I have learned to do is to reframe what is being expressed to me and ask if I am understanding what the other person is trying to convey. Clearly, I still drop the ball on this sometimes or I would have started this out with the situation above. But that’s okay, I’m a work in progress.

Continued conversation seems to be the best remedy. Understanding that sometimes things are simply absorbed at different rates is helpful. Being willing to revisit even the most simple suggestions or guidelines is probably the most helpful for me. For you, it may be different. And if so, I would really like to know what you find helpful. Please share in the comments.

Most of all, I find it helpful to remember that as much as I love words, there is room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. For me, that creates space for further exploration and clarification. Remembering that we are all doing our best and that most efforts of communication are offered with the intention to be helpful makes all the difference.

Wishing you a day of gentle peace and joy and hoping that each time someone expresses ‘I love you’ you are able to receive the message with clarity and understanding. <3

Sandy Walden
Master Grief Coach

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