Alan Cohen says an archery target is a good way to map out the quality of communication....
He starts with the outer-most ring and works his way inward:
• "News and gossip...which requires no personal
disclosure or investment and moves attention
away from the speakers."
• "Opinions and judgments...in which we
reveal a little bit of ourselves, but restrict
our communication to intellectual chatter."
• "Feelings...at this level we begin to bring into
the light what is going on unseen within us."
• "Most vulnerable feelings and experiences...
which are the most difficult (and most
rewarding) to share, as we make ourselves
naked in our pain and ecstasy."
And finally the bulls-eye...
• "Unspeakable unity...we feel so joined with
our partner that words would only detract
from the golden beauty of the moment."
I recently toured Tasha Tudor's house and garden led by family members. Those who may not know who she was can read about her here. Those who do know about her know that she died in 2008 leaving a contested will--three of her four children against the fourth who received the bulk of her estate. He and his family had lived next door for 36 years and cared for her during the illness that claimed her life at age 92. On the tour I spoke with that son and his wife about the house and to her grandson about the garden. What I wanted to talk about was their family and whether they'd reconciled after the estate challenge and how they felt about it all. I wanted to go to the heart of the matter. But, of course, I didn't. I was not a close friend. I was a paying "guest".
Being an introvert I find the outer ring--the news and gossip level--the most challenging. Such conversation doesn't interest me and therefore I have nothing to contribute to it and thereby feel out of place in most social settings. I found this definition of introvert. It doesn't explain why, however, an introvert is drained by being around people. It was obviously written by an extrovert who doesn't understand how chit-chat can drain a person who'd rather talk about what really matters to them. I've also learned as I've grown older to keep my opinions and judgments to myself. They do nothing to endear me to others since they are usually different. The third level--feelings--is where I usually dwell in my "introvertedness". This is where I want to start my conversations but have also learned as I've grown older it does not serve me well in most circles either. It makes people uncomfortable. The next two levels aren't even to be considered as you can guess by now!
So when do we get down to those last three levels of communication? Hopefully, we all have someone(s) in our lives we feel close enough to, and they to us, to share this kind of intimacy. In light of the hundreds of "social media" friendships we maintain today we may have little room for real relationships where we can build the kind of trust necessary to open ourselves to one another. Do we not all have (at least women do) a girlfriend from our childhood we told a secret to and then were betrayed when there was a falling out? So, trust can be a real issue for some.
Mr. Cohen ends his essay by saying, "To create more fulfilling lives, we must speak to each other with more intimacy." He says the way to achieve this is to let others see more into you--the word "intimacy" is built on "into me see."
I use to browse the Web and look at other people's Blogs and wonder why they took the time to do it. Now that I have my Blogs I understand--it is a way to let others see more into me. I Blog not because I'm an extrovert, but because I'm not!
Father, thank you for this insight. I hope I've helped someone else to understand their need to connect in real ways to other people. But ultimately, Father, I know we have a Friend in Jesus who loves us and sees into our hearts and desires us to let Him in.
Link to scripture: http://mlbible.com/revelation/3-20.htm
Take action: What a Friend We Have in Jesus