Sunday, December 9, 2012

Education...and Misrepresentation

I'm gonna start off with misrepresentation.

These are my ponderings from the day, if you're uninterested, that's ok, I'll never know.
Unless you tell me, but that would be rude.

There have been times where I thought myself, a good, and effective communicator. I have since altered my thinking. I have now come to the conclusion, that I have been around many great communicators who have made me feel like a great communicator. Those people have been in church, in school, and family. I realize now, that there are many times I come home thinking, not in these words exactly, but basically, I think, I misrepresented myself. Maybe this is because I was around less effective communicators and maybe I could still hold on to a little hope that I do know how to communicate somewhat effectively. Maybe not. But I do know this, (this too adds to the previously stated hope) there are only a few real rules to being a good communicator. Thus making others feel well-represented, and also giving yourself a chance to well-represent.

#1- First and foremost, Shut Up! For 5 seconds (at least, but hopefully you can hold out a little longer) let the other person talk. This is key. Communication can really only occur between 2 or more people. Not a 1-way street folks. So just shut up. Zip your mouth closed, Glue your lips together, and/or use some duct tape. And then refer to rule #2.

#2- Listen. You may have a point inside your head that's realllllllllly good. Like so good that it could be like candy. Or baked goods. Your point may altogether win out everyone else's point by a long shot. You may be thee most educated person in the room on a specific subject and you are just dying to get your chance to say what you have to say. But you must first listen. No one will really listen to you if you don't first listen to them. Because if your response comes and you have not paid attention first and listened, you may find that the words you so carefully put together in your head have no weight or importance at all to anyone else in the room because you clearly had no intention of giving credit to what anyone else wants to say. So just listen.
Listen and Silent contain the exact same letters....interesting.

#3- Then, when it's your turn, speak clearly. Emphasis on when it's your turn. When you interrupt someone, even during a light-hearted conversation, it's like you took a very large broom and you came a swingin' and by golly you smacked their soapbox right out from underneath them. By doing so, you may not realize it at first, but you lose your own soapbox, and so at that point--again, no one cares what you say. Interrupting is rude, not just because mama said so, but because it shows your lack of interest in not only what the other person is saying, but really, your lack of interest in that person.

So, there are only 3 rules. I try to follow them. There are many times I sit in silence because there is no room for another soapbox, or another podium, or a microphone. I'm happy to sit in silence, and there are many times I wish I would have just continued to sit in silence...but regretfully I opened my mouth too soon. I think of Mark Twain who said that it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid, than it is to open it and confirm it (a rough paraphrase).

Don't we all want to be able to represent ourselves well? Explain our thoughts and feelings exactly, so that others can understand us and maybe we can understand them better? If we want that, we have to let others do the same. We have to seek understanding first, and then sharing our opinions can be worthwhile. Oftentimes, someone will make a comment and it immediately frustrates us. Why? Because we interpret it with our experiences, our understanding, and our perspective. This is too narrow of a view. We have to open our minds, hear what others say, and then make a decision. But can we ever really broaden our views? Just because we decide to agree with something we normally wouldn't does that mean our view broadened? I don't believe so. My thoughts are this, we only have our experiences, our understanding, and our perspective. And when we listen to others we can only then add to our own, but we can't literally take their perspective because it's in their brain mapped out the way they drew it. But what we can do is seek understanding, and love others. The word love can be a powerful word in every situation. When we truly love others, we let them represent themselves because that's what feels loving. That's what feels right, and our opinions,or our justifications for being right don't credit us the ability to take away someone else's opportunity to present themselves and/or effectively communicate.

I would rather let the other person talk. I prefer peace to confrontation. However, it is frustrating when others will not let me or anyone respond. By all means, I've done my fair share of interrupting, not truly listening, and setting up situations where others are forced to misrepresent themselves because I didn't let them do so correctly. I've learned that my favorite people to talk to are those who let me be me. So I try to do the same with others. That has never meant I am forced to agree. I just have to hope that they will try to understand me, and I'll try to understand them. And if both sides agree to disagree then my hope is that all is still well.

It's funny how I've left some conversations with a renewed thirst. It's that thirst, or hunger, for knowledge. These can be from awesome conversations--the ones where I leave feeling like I just want to know more, a lot more. Those conversations are so good. But sometimes I feel that thirst out of spite...I'm gonna learn so much more on that subject, you'll see then I'll really tell ya whats up...but that's a dumb reason.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications."

Haha I'll let you ponder that one and see how it relates or how it doesn't. I'm not tying this to a close very well, but I think I'm done. Bottom line, we must be better. We must love others first and foremost because it makes us better communicators. Education can do that to- as we open our minds for knowledge suddenly we see that people think differently than we do, and it's okay. We can still love them, and given the right opportunities maybe we can teach them. But the best communication also happens spirit to spirit. That's stronger than any sentence, any speech, and certainly any moment on a soapbox. Spiritual communication requires extra listening though, and that's hard to do. But we have to try, we have to listen and then speak when moved upon by the Spirit. The times I've walked away with regrets about opening my mouth, were often times when I ignored the spiritual prompting to shut up. So I'm working on it. As I hope we all do. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Almost done and some good thoughts.

38 weeks. and 1 day. My favorite number is 4. However, at this time in my life I don't want to see anything with a 4 or a 0 in it, because I do not want to go another 2 weeks. I'll be glad if she comes tomorrow, 12-4-12. That'd be sweet. Cross your fingers.

I just have to say, its amazing how much pregnancy changes you. Over the course of the year, I have become a different person in so many ways. I can't yet even imagine how motherhood will change me.
But I know it will, and I know it will be for the better.

Before we got pregnant, and before we had decided to try doing so, I was kinda...unsatisfied. I just kept rehearsing in my mind why I wasn't good enough, or hadn't done enough with my life up until that point...(because I was so old...not) But I think to a point I had that mindset. Then the Lord made it clear we were to have a baby. And thus we are going to have a baby. And it's amazing how my mindset has completely changed. I still have dreams and goals that will help me in other ways to become a better person. For example, I don't think I'm done with school. Surprisingly, I enjoy it too much to be done. And who knows what else lies in store for me individually. But, my life as a whole is, and will be forever for someone else. I felt a little of this change when Colten and I got married, but I was more selfish then, (emphasis on more, I'm still working on that part) and I knew that my life would be lived with him and shared with him, and that our new journey was going to be forever---but I still had a strong sense of my own identity, and my own journey. Since becoming pregnant that journey and that identity are not gone, but they are not focused on me anymore. And it feels good. I have yet to see this little baby girl's face, but she is a part of me.

How amazing is that?

She is everything and more to me. And my heart honestly fills with gratitude, that my husband could give me such a precious gift. I don't quite know how to be a mom. In so many ways I'm just wingin' it. But my biggest hope, my biggest dream, and the goal of my lifetime is that the epitome of my success will have been motherhood. Because other than our individual ability to come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him, and our journeys to become like our Father in Heaven, does anything else matter? I mean seriously, our spiritual journeys, and our relationships with our spouses and children, does anything else hold that much weight or that much importance? I could list the hundreds of things we are supposed "to do" as Latter-Day-Saints. But if we lack the perspective in which our family comes first, then where have we gotten? Heavenly Father's work, and His glory is to bring to pass the eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39). His work, and His glory, is His family. Our family. (hence why temple work, family history work, and missionary work are all so extremely important). So, I too have now made it my work, and my glory, to teach this little girl all the good things. To help her become her very best self, and help her know her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. That is what matters. So, if I never finish school, it's okay. If all I ever do in this life, is be a great mother, and a great wife, and by doing so serve my Father in Heaven, then I'll have done pretty good. If I can do a couple of things here and there for my friends and neighbors, that's great. But before anyone else, I will serve my Heavenly Father, and my family.

I have so many great examples around me. Amazing family members, amazing in-laws. I will tell ya this much, I'm no longer unsatisfied. I am so thrilled, and so excited to be a mom.

And now that I have shared thoughts as deep as the ocean itself, I really wish I would just go into labor.

And I keep hearing this word over and over, but I don't know what it means. Can you guys help me? I think it's spelled....patience?