Yeah, you read that with an attitude, huh? That's usually how it's given. Lol
Communication skills are hard to come by when you grow up in an environment where expressing yourself was stifled. Any disagreement is seen as disrespectful, and you know how that ended in the 80s and 90s.
But what you end up with is a generation of people who either can't express themselves or think expressing themselves is being rude as hell under the guise of 'keeping it real.'
I don't always express my thoughts simply because I tend to not sugarcoat my words and, in a true people pleasing fashion, don't want to upset people. I don't want to come off as a know-it-all or inconsiderate, but it's been confirmed over and over again as recently as this morning, that when I'm tapped in...I know my shit.
All too often in relationships, both platonic and romantic, we mince words or use them as daggers. Mostly because we've got some shit to heal within ourselves, but we don't want to, so we try to drag the other person down into the pit with us. Misery loves company, right? The thing to remember is people don't have to engage. When we got to talking out the side of our neck, they can choose to walk away, because we don't get to handle them like that. If you can't have a conversation without constantly losing it, don't be surprised when you find yourself arguing alone. How we approach each other, especially in this day and age of "Twitter fingers" is crucial. Things are rarely received positively when given in a harsh tone. And written words are the worst to interpret.
Knowing your audience is key. Some people know this mouth gets slick, and are quick to gently remind me that my words are pointed. (They still admit I'm right though, and sometimes flip my own words back on me. #audacity) Others would immediately be offended when I ask "So what you gone do?" (Because most of the time the answer is nothing, and they don't like the reflection looking back at them in the mirror.) Sometimes people aren't asking for advice. They are asking for a listening ear. (The Lord is yet working on me with this one.)
I'm learning how to communicate, and it gets easier the most I practice it. I get a lump in my throat when I don't say what's on my mind and it will sit there until I let it out either written or verbally. I working on knowing when I should apologize. (Lapsed time isn't an apology) Knowing when's the right time to stay the right thing. (Some things just aren't helpful sometimes.) Knowing when the wrong thing could be detrimental. (Timing is everything.) But also knowing...that how a person receives what I say is on them. (Especially if they 1. are my people and 2. asked my opinion.) I know I don't mean it in a assholic (Is that a word?) way, and that's the only thing I can control. The Spirit I operate in. And that will always be love. Because at the end of the day, I want us all to reach our highest potential and we can't do that with a bunch of 'yes men' or hiding out in our little corner of the world waiting for the other shoe to drop.
So the challenge today and every day is to be honest in your speech while maintaining the framework of love. Words can be life affirming, but they can also kill. Choose wisely.