What You’re Communicating When You’re Not Communicating

There is a bizarre phenomenon in the realm of existence, and this rule applies in every area of life.There is something that goes on, even beyond humanity, to the birds in the skies, the animals over the ground, to the creatures in the sea, even to plant life. Something links at all, and that something is communication.Our very being here,bodily and spiritually,is communication.We are communicating constantly. Even when we are not communicating we are communicating, for in our non-communicating we communicate perhaps some of the most powerful messages. These are usually messages of inference and assumption – the promulgation of untruth.In our humanity, silence, for one instance, communicates volumes. It can communicate exclusion, derision, abandonment, the fact that there is no relationship, and it can suggest even love, but not usually. We normally associate silence with something negative.We are still communicatingwhen we’re not communicating.When we break connection we often force people to either second-guess our relationship with them, or our motives, or we get them to question the very future that we might share together, or not, as the case may be.And yet, we may have decided for good reason to break connection. Perhaps there’s been a toxic relationship formed that we need release from. The only way to do that is to stop communicating. But it is always nice if we can communicate with clarity what our intentions are, so the other person can commence their grieving. If they continue to beckon for our attention, avoidance is the only way of enforcing a communicated boundary.This issue gets very practical in our electronic world when we don’t receive replies to the e-mails or the text messages we send. It’s the same when people don’t get a response from us. It’s quite normal for people to think that we have forgotten about them, or that we don’t care, when we don’t respond in a timely fashion, or we don’t respond at all. Perhaps we’ve all thought that, ‘looks like they don’t like me anymore,’ and, ‘what have I done wrong?’It would be a useful prayer, in our electronic age, to ask God every day:’Lord, show me what I’m communicatingnegatively through failing to communicate.”Lord, reveal to me what I’m communicatingthrough my silence.”Lord, help me to know, also, how to keep my peacein situations where I ought to be silent.”Lord, give me ways of refraining from speakingwhen I ought to remain silent.’There are times when we don’t communicate out of choice, for good reason, but we should make it clear to the person we’re not communicating with as to why we’re ceasing contact. Say it once and never feel the need to go back.In other cases, the choice not to communicate is possibly passive aggressiveness. That’s never good. It would be better to have the conversation required to resolve the conflict.In some other cases, it just so happens we’re distracted, like the photo suggests, by myriad other abstractions.Sometimes technology takes the focusthat human beings ought to occupy.We have the opportunity to reflect how much technology replaces real communication; that our reticence to connect, because we’re so ‘plugged in’ to our device, speaks in deafening tones of our relational ambivalence. And this occurs in familial relationships as much as anywhere.In not communicating, we’re often communicatinga message we should not wish to communicate.

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