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Language is Everything - Part 5

Language is Everything. The one about shortcuts.

We live in an age dominated by communication in cut-time. We're surrounded by emojis, shorthand text talk and abbreviations or straight out memes. Now, I'm not necessarily knocking any of these as there's value in learning about ALL of the ways in which we can communicate and understanding the nuances and impacts of them.

What I am saying, however, is that as we get used to shortcuts we get lazy. One of the worst offenders in my opinion is the hacks or tricks. Nowadays we call them lifehacks, etc. I remember this book, however, people talked about during relationship counseling, etc. This goes way back. People would talk about love languages, or men are from Mars women are from Venus, or things like that which oversimplify the complex. I believe that it's a gift to be able to take something complex and break it down into its component parts and help people understand it from a simpler angle then rebuild it back up to its complex form.

But there's something sinister that happens when the mind makes shortcuts on things like love languages. Oh, you're this kind of person. You must like X and you do X and X means a lot to you. While this type of thing, as I said, can help someone who is tunneling on themselves to learn to think outside themselves and attempt to understand their partner, it can also be devastatingly oversimplifying. We can come to trust that we understand something deep and profound when all we've really done is learn to parrot certain phrases that mimic intelligence. But they are no substitute for the real thing.

When it comes to communicating, listen. Try to draw lines between similar experiences. Ask questions about the connections you're making in order to validate the takeaways. Then, add them up over time and you're just beginning to learn your partner, friend, parent, child, etc.

It's important as we interact with one another not to reduce another person to lifehacks we read in a blog, or in a book, or saw on YouTube. This is also true when it comes to things like personality tests. While these can be extremely helpful in identifying characteristics and putting language to things that previously eluded us, it's important to not accept wearing a shoe that doesn't fit. There's a lot of research and study that goes into these tests, and as I said they can be really helpful in opening yourself up to those around you who might not understand you, or even help you understand yourself. But it's critical to continue to realize that you are the expert on yourself.

It is better to take those the same way you would a buffet. Sometimes when I go to a buffet, I like to eat the same things. Once in a while, I want to change it up. I'm in the mood for something different. This is normal. The key isn't so much in what I like and don't like as it lies in WHY I change it up. That's one of the things that I find fails when people start to settle for hacks as a way of explaining things. They often settle for the WHAT and try to make predictions of their partner rather than identifying patterns and understanding why their partner fits that description sometimes and why they do not at other times. This requires a view of the full picture, not just the oversimplified hack.

Remember, language is everything. Do not settle for shoes that do not fit, nor shortcuts that fail to get you to the destination.




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