Words can be so inaccurate, can't they? We may understand what we're saying, but it doesn't mean others do. That "getting lost in translation" can lead to misunderstandings, expectations, and hurt feelings. It's like a game of "Operator". Getting lost in translation happens when what we say goes through another person's filter (aka: history wrapped in the emotional experience) and vice versa. Unfortunately, these filters are invisible. I guarantee you, if the subject is emotionally charged, those filters are getting pinged. When you add technology to the mix---texting, IMing or emailing---the likelihood of getting lost in translation skyrockets! You can't hear tone of voice or read body language. These subtleties are part of being human, as are our filters.
Here are 2 key ways to keep you from getting lost in translation:
1. Keep emotionally charged conversations to face-to-face communication
If you can't be face-to-face use Skype, FaceTime or another virtual platform as your second choice.
If you're avoiding an emotionally charged conversation and thinking of reaching for a keyboard or touch screen ---DON'T. You will only complicate the situation. Deconstructing how you are feeling and thinking is the place to start. From my years of experience as a hypnotist, I can guarantee there's a fear of yours getting triggered. What is it? Get clear of what you're experiencing first. This will actually help prevent your filters from getting in the way of a meaningful conversation and some kind of resolution.
2. Check things out
This is a wonderful skill to learn and use. Reflective listening is checking in with the other person by asking them what they've heard you say. This way, you can understand how you are being heard and clarify as needed. Non-violent Communication by Rosenberg is a great book to learn how to really listen to another person (reflective listening) and be clear in what you say.
As Jim and I are uncoupling we're seeing a couple's therapist; I realize this might seem odd but it's not. Walt Ciecko helps us to see when our filters are pinging, what they are and to navigate through emotionally charged conversations. Jim and I are committed to staying amicable and this is part of that commitment.
Is it always easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely!