Sunday, November 20, 2011

When not in Rome, do I still have to do as the Romans do?

So much for NaBoPloMo!

Alas, just have to keep writing whenever possible, methinks... No worries about frequency at this point.

This has been a difficult week. Things are still churning in the brain and in the heart and just the spirit in general. All I can say is thank goodness for having a partner that is articulate, insightful and can listen.... most of the time! Hee, hee.... we've been having some difficult conversations as well, but in the end, our communication is honest, raw and challenging and while I think sometimes it could be easier if he and I were more like, I am in awe of how powerful connecting with another human being can be. Humbled, really.

And that is a bit of the rub these days...

I feel my partner and I are like an example of diplomatic relations between nations that want similar things, but believe there are different means to achieve, yet want to do so peacefully and understand the importance of alliances.... of nations committed to on-going serious and thoughtful communication...

I was high school when I attended a human relations camp dedicated to communication and social issues, I found out quickly a few basic truths in order for effective communication:

  1. Understand yourself - where you're coming from
  2. Understand how others perceive you
  3. Understand/Know how you perceive others
  4. Understand others - where they're coming from
"Understanding" is a very general term, though... It encompasses a person's background, their values, their communication style, their sensitivities. And it must be done with compassion, with yourself as well as others.

Compassion can be a hard one, though... something to expand on some other time.

I saw in action these dynamic and exciting results in coalition building and personal relationships when I was about 16 and so began to adopt as my own style the need for direct and honest, yet compassionate communication. I practiced and saw in action while at college and even when I first started working.

So, it's very odd to be in a situation where I've been stumped at how to communicate to resolve problems. I encountered this while living in Okinawa. I wrote many a journal entry at my frustrations, my struggle with being able to connect with local people and being able to also express myself. I had to learn from scratch, a whole new dynamic to communication. I thought I had started to navigate it well...

Upon returning to the US, I realized, indeed I had, for suddenly I couldn't communicate very well with my friends. I had adapted to something different and was stumbling over an area that used to be quite intuitive with me. That (as a form of reverse culture shock) was a major part of why I was very withdrawn and becoming depressed upon returning. I think it took quite a long while to finally feel like a fully "participating" person, American even.

That is why my current situation in which I find I cannot communicate with some folks are proving very difficult. It may be a hybrid or maybe it's the exact things happening in Okinawa all over again. Perhaps I should just give that more thought. It will make my work more stressful for I must maintain what I do well and naturally in order to further develop and expand areas in my work. However, my success or failure at maneuvering this unexpected environment deeply affects the scope of my work.

In Okinawa, well, it was "When in Rome, do what the Romans do."

Well, here I'm in the States..... And these Roman-like people are stumping me!

I'm fully aware this post probably doesn't make much sense. I hope I can fully write about this when it's successfully resolved. (That's right, feeling optimistic at the moment!)

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