Experience is an individual’s unique perspective of how they personally interact with the world around them; the events and stories of the past projected into the possibilities of the future. We are not alone in our experiences; every one of us shares some nuance, some level of understanding of another’s experience. To get an inkling of understanding another’s experience, we ‘measure’ the story we are being told against a personal experience of our own. This we call understanding.
Experience then, when spoken and shared, is a connector of people, a potential spark of understanding, a lightbulb moment and the cogs start turning. But only if we are paying attention, only if we feed back to the story teller, seeking clarity and understanding. It is then that the teller and the receiver are reflections of one another, joined in the experience of the story, and it’s potential.
As humans we have the gift of language, the spoken and written word, that stands us apart from the rest of life on earth. Language forms the basis of communication. Communication is the flow of understanding that inspires seeking, deep investigation, complex problem solving, and connection between people to make our experiences of life better.
Communication is an art form, sadly to which little attention is paid in our education, even though communication is the one thing that both joins and divides. We spend too much energy on one side of the conversation, as the speaker; and far too little time on the side of the receiver. Even when we are ‘listening’, we are actually ‘half listening’ while deciding what we are going to say next. We value hearing ourselves talk, getting our opinion across, and forget to connect; to seek understanding, and to open the potential of growth that comes from understanding.
I have a theory as to why we have the incessant need to ‘talk’ rather than ‘flow understanding between two people’. Even when we are alone, we are constantly, endlessly chattering to ourselves, inside our heads. Unless you are well practised, it is near on impossible to turn off the demands, opinions, to-do lists, problems, and circular conversations held within the confines of the mind. We even fill in the part of the other person, what ‘they’ might say, how ‘they’ might act, project what they outcome is going to be, before we have even lived the event in real life.
Humans are well known for their negativity bias. Frequently our internal conversation with ourselves (but including others who are not present, but for whom we make up a part in the play) does not go well. Then what happens? We start to feel nervous, anxious, sad, angry, upset… (take your pick)… as your body physiologically changes, neurologically changes, and chemically changes in response to the ‘play’ you choreographed in your amazing mind.
I will repeatedly delve into ‘BEing Human’ with my collaborators, in hope that together we can weave a web that catches the reader; encouraging them to notice, to consider, to reflect and to share experience.