#OneWord2022: Connecting and communicating

everything is connected neon light signage

The one word I chose to contemplate this year is CONNECT. So far I’ve been thinking about connecting with various things, shifting slightly from month to month.

Last month I reflected on connecting with failure. That brought up memories of failures in communication, my own and others’. For me, connecting and communicating are so close in meaning they are almost identical. We can’t communicate without connecting with one another, and once we do connect, something is sure to be communicated.

three black handset toys
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And yet, somehow I have managed to have so many broken, interrupted, garbled or otherwise unsatisfactory links in communication in my life. I don’t connect to the people I desperately want to hear and understand, and who I want to hear and understand me. The lines get crossed or cut off and we can’t reach each other.

What would it take to establish better connections, better chances of communicating?

Sometimes, I have to take a hard look at my behavior, see where I might need to take responsibility for something I’ve done, and apologize. I find this hard to do, because I’d rather make my faults go away by pretending they don’t exist. However, this ostrich-like behavior does not work. And a dose of humility and truth can on occasion open up the connections amazingly.

road closed signage
Photo by Travis Saylor on Pexels.com

At other times, it’s my assumptions and fixed ideas that are getting in the way. I have to get rid of these and open up my mind and my heart. Without that openness, nothing can get through, no connection can be made and no communication can reach my stuffed-up ears.

The Psalms are moving reminders of how fundamental the longing for communication is to our souls. The one who prays cries out to be heard by God and longs to experience a reply. To be cut off from communication is incredibly painful:

I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
     my heart grew hot within me. (Psalm 39:1-3)

For a long time it was incredibly difficult for me to imagine expressing myself honestly to another person or to God. Like the psalmist here, I thought I could combat sin and wickedness (my own, especially) through clamming up. The anguish pressing on my heart eventually broke me open, though. And it was such a relief to find that I didn’t have to stay incommunicado.

These days, I may sometimes err on the side of saying too much. I’ve been guilty of thoughtless blabbing that can also be off-putting and break connections. I am working on the art of restraint. But I still find it better than when I would remain “utterly silent, not even saying anything good.” Mistakes can be corrected. But if you are afraid to ever make a mistake, nothing good can happen either.

Connecting in a way that enables healthy communication poses a huge challenge and is very complex. I may need more than one month to ponder this particular goal.

One Word linkup at Lisa Notes

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12 thoughts on “#OneWord2022: Connecting and communicating

    1. Thank you for that assurance. It is interesting to follow that transformation through the lens of this one word. I have never tried that before.

  1. I love your connection between connecting and communication, Lory. You’re right that it’s hard to think of one without the other. It’s also hard to find the right mix of talking too little and talking too much. I’ve been more open with a couple friends lately, and I wonder if it was the right thing or not. Sometimes we don’t know until much later. I prefer instant feedback. 🙂 But that’s not always the way life works. Thanks for sharing your post at our linkup!

    1. Oh yes, I crave instant feedback too and it often is not forthcoming (or is TOO instant and premature). Maybe that has to be the topic of my next post.

  2. Well, that’s given me a lot to think about! I am definitely on the ‘stay quiet and hope everything goes away’ side. I’ve been trying lately to think about how to become more expressive, but it seems almost impossible.

    1. it’s okay to be quiet! There may not be that many times when you truly have to express yourself verbally. The trick is to learn how to become aware of when those times are. And also to realize we are expressing ourselves and communicating all the time in non-verbal, largely unconscious ways. That was really key for me.

  3. Lory, this is so good! There is soooo much to absorb, allowing myself to see how real these connections and nonconnections, the ways of communication are to and for me. Ouch! But it is all good. Thank you and I shall be rereading this because I need this. ~ linda

    1. The opportunity to reflect on these topics is a gift to me too! Glad you were touched by something in it as well.

  4. I’m trying to find a balance, Lory. I used to be ‘over-connected’, if that’s possible and then certain events and situations caused me to withdraw from most people. Now I’m slowly working my way back to connecting, but more mindfully and meaningfully.
    I would love to follow your journey with ‘connect’ and I journey with ‘flow’ this year!

    1. I’m quite sure it is possible to be over-connected. One needs balance in all things. I think there need to be distinct entities in order to actually have a connection; otherwise it’s more of a merging or enmeshment. Not what I am looking for at the moment! Flow is a wonderful word, I’ll look forwardt to seeing where that takes you.

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