Ok, the following is an off-the-top-of-my-head look at my philosophy.
What high comms actually means to me, why it’s valuable, and how you can go about doing it too and reaping all the sweet rewards of such a commitment. I will very likely update and hone this over time. Or rather write separate blog posts on each of the things itemized on the list below, so that we’re super clear on what I’m talking about, scenarios, contextual examples, big-picture processing, etc. You feel me. I really care that you guys get it/me. Here we go and stay tuned.
Ok, Q: what is “high comms?”
A: High comms is a cultivated ability to identify and communicate the factual, emotionally detached truth in ourselves and/or a situation (even when speaking about emotions).
A: High comms is assessing a situation and/or ourselves and telling it like it is, without judgment or laying blame.
A: High comms is courageous interaction, letting go of the fears that keep us from putting our unedited selves or assessments out there full-on.
A: High comms is stating the truth, the deal, respectfully, with understanding and love, even when it’s not what someone else wants to hear.
A: High comms is accepting ourselves for exactly who we are and what we go through, and sharing that self happily, confidently, and bravely with the everyone we come in contact with.
The first A sounds all technical, and I guess it is, because literally I see this as a black-and-white skill anyone can learn if they choose to undertake it and commit to the practice over the long term. Every one of the answers above is a conversation in and of itself too, so yeah, this discussion will be an ongoing one on this blog, so if you have questions, or comments, I’m way open to hear them—either post, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sweet.
Ok, so high comms is a cultivated ability—how do you do it?
Be cool with you. Like for reals. I’m talking, you gotta know, like really know, deep down, you’re a good, awesome, loving person so that you’ll always know your comms come with good intentions, despite how it may be received by others.
Step away from your emotions to open your awareness. We can’t share what we are/think/feel without first being able to de-cloud ourselves from our emotions to actually see objectively what we are/think/feel. This takes practice fo sho, but is also completely and totally achievable.
Assess yourself/the situation to determine the facts. Once clear from emotions, we have to make use of that clear headspace to determine what exactly is going on and why. Catalog and organize these facts in your mind so that when you share, your sharing is clear, easy to understand, and easy for the other person to feel the matter-of-fact nature of what you’re saying.
Detach from the outcome of sharing what you know/feel/think. Once we’ve collected the facts and see a situation or our own feelings clearly, our emotions may sneak back in and try to stop us from really saying it all, and feeling good/relaxed about it. If this happens, take a moment to remind yourself that you’re that good awesome loving person you know you are from step one, and your intentions are always good. And likely win-win. With that, release yourself from any attachment to how the other person will react. If you have attachment and really want someone to respond a certain way, that vibe will show through when you share. Take whatever moments or deep breaths you need to mentally get yourself to the place where you’re cool with whatever happens. If you don’t, your emotions will more often than not re-cloud you during your sharing and de-rail you from achieving high comms in it’s purest form. This takes practice too, so don’t get discouraged if this step is difficult for you. We care about things, it’s understandable to want things to go what we imagine is the best way. Caring is a good thing. Part of high comms is sharing that we care, acknowledging it among all the other facts.
Once settled, take the leap and tell the facts/truth where your only intention is to engage the other person in discussion about what’s going on, not to press your own agenda.
From here, make note of how people react to your new style, what they do, what they say, how they react. Most of the time people’s reactions will disprove the fears you had going in. If you get a thank you after telling someone something you thought they’d freak about because they are grateful for you being up front with them, remember that. Catalog people’s positive responses, and each time you have an opportunity to practice high comms, it will get easier and easier because you will have more and more evidence to support that it’s awesome, helpful, and almost always positively received!
Repeat all of the above as much as possible, with as many people as possible. For the most impact, practice inside the relationships you want to keep that cause you the most stress, or feel the most inauthentic. These will definitely be the most difficult relationships because they have the most emotional attachment, whether it’s your boss, your significant other, your parents, whatever. That said, revolutionizing these relationships will also carry with it the greatest reward.
*Ok, even though that may seem long-winded, to me this list actually feels like the uber-ridiculous bare-bones info for how to integrate high comms and all it’s benefits into your relationships and yourself. Seriously, I think each of the above steps will warrant a blog post of it’s own to really get into the nitty gritty, contextual examples, all that good shit that will really get us to the same understanding and on the same page.
Ok, great, so high comms is what it is. Sounds hard. Sounds like it’ll take effort. Sounds like I’ll have to face my fears and as such feel them, something I don’t like to do. Sounds like it’s going to take a long time, and I’m an instant-gratification girl in the day of Netflix and iChat. SO, all this said, why on earth would I want to do this? What makes it worth all the effort?
Hehe, I hear you.
Next question: what will you get out of committing to and practicing high comms?
Trust. People will trust you, which automatically strengthens those relationships. Because you prove to them time and again that you speak the truth, whether it’s embarrassing, uncomfortable, unpopular, or just plain weird, they can always count on you to be honest. This breeds trust. And the value of trust is immeasurable. That’s how huge it is. (That’s what she said.) I once told a friend that the words “I trust you” were actually more powerful that “I love you.” Maybe not always in every situation, but I bet in a lot of relationships. I wonder what would happen if for a week, couples traded the two phrases and said “I trust you” every time they’d normally say “I love you”… hmm, interesting, I like that one.
Respect. Respect is like the little brother of trust. People respect a person who doesn’t buckle under social pressures… people respect a person who is capable and happy to be themselves in all situations… people respect a person who embodies qualities they would like to embody themselves. Why? Because as easy as it sounds, it’s difficult to achieve those things. We’ve got to bust through emotional walls, collect courage, piss on fears, and leap over buildings in a single bound, shit. So anyone that does, earns our respect.
Friends that actually like YOU. When all you do is take the leap and really put yourself out there, when you connect with people, you know that they actually like the real you, not the watered-down, tempered, probably lame, version of you. And that feels f*cking awesome! We all want to feel accepted and loved for exactly who we are. And, we will only ever be able to have this incredible experience if we just buck up and do it, balls out, be ourselves, regardless of outcome. This is usually a big one in romantic relationships—I know as a girl it’s really hard to get over that feeling of wanting the guy you like to like you back, which is the primary feeling that usually leads us to try to be whatever it is we think the guy will like, instead of just being our relaxed awesome selves. Can’t say I’ve heard of many relationships working out when one person just tried to please the other. And if a loving, mutually committed, evolving relationship is your goal, they why bother trying to please as your plan of attack? Might as well go with high comms from the start, meet someone who actually likes YOU, and grow from there.
Freedom from the stress of trying to be someone you’re not for the sake of others’ approval. Perfect segway from number 3. When we try to constantly adjust ourselves to situations and people, we are under constant stress. We never know what the other people are gonna do, or what’s going to happen, and as such it’s an exhausting roller coaster of emotion and effort with ultimately little reward, or at best, haphazard, unpredictable reward. Practicing high comms, we are completely released from this stress—we never have to “figure out” what to do, or how to be. We let our gut be our guide, and feel peace in our acceptance of ourselves and however the world at large receives us, while also mutually respecting and accepting others for doing the same. Dude, this one is huuuuuge! (That’s what she said.) When we’re released from stress, we’re happier, more relaxed, more fun to be around, more inspired, more energized, more flooded with our own awesomeness. Value out the ass, peeps. It affects eeeeeeverything.
Etc etc etc etc ETC. I’m sure there’s a million other benefits, but this post is already really long, so I’ll continue later on. Bottom line, the benefits vs. the effort/pain to achieve them… yeah, the scale tips elephant-mouse style.
So that’s my first attempt at explanation of what I believe to be a critical life practice to get us to core happiness, deep wholly authentic relationships, and pretty much everything else awesome in life. It’s ALL connected… we’ll keep talking… love you, peeps, love you. Elephant-mouse style. Hahaa, that pretty much means nothing here at closing, but I thought it was funny, and I love funny. Brain done. For now. Out.