(Image source: AfraidtoAsk.com)
"Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?" (Stephen covey.com)
Nothing makes us realize the importance of communication more than when it is missing or sorely lacking. Some of us do this to avoid facing unpleasant topics, or some might do this to buy time and delay an inevitable discussion. In any case, when communication stops, relationships of all types suffer as a result. It doesn't matter if it's a family member, a friend, a spouse, a partner, a son, or a daughter. When communication stops, it becomes a struggle to maintain a meeting of the minds; there can be no mutual understanding, no trust, and no mutual respect between people.
I keep coming back to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people; Habit 5 - Seek first to understand then to be understood. So much misunderstanding happens needlessly when communication and deep mutual understanding are missing from any type of relationship, connection, or association.
"If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar?" (StephenCovey.com)
When a connection means a lot, it is worth the investment of time and energy to communicate, to deeply listen, and to understand one another. The result is a meaningful connection that stands the test of time, because it shows that people care enough to invest of themselves. Mutual trust, respect, and admiration can grow to be solid and strong for years to come. These are the kinds of connections I want in my life regardless of relationship type or association. When life dishes out a bowl of bitter lemons, these are the kinds of connections that make life sweeter...the "sugar" in the "lemonade" that makes life bearable.