Volume 2 Number 4
01 April 1989
Mrs Judith Ward, of the Anglican Marriage Guidance Council in Melbourne, Australia, speaking at a seminar at Armagh, the Moral Re-Armament centre there:
Most people see life as being as satisfactory as their relationships, but settle for a sort of truce.
We communicate on five levels: (1) social cliches, which offer nothing and give nothing, (2) passing on information; (3) our ideas and judgments; (4) our feelings; and (5) `peak communication'- a totally open and honest interchange that we might only have with one other person.
Most of us would rather be dishonest than hurt someone. So we store up our feelings, and then one day - it might be a year laterthat person does sonic innocuous thing and we suddenly let him or her have an avalanche. Mostly we have a very strict censorship over our emotions, our anger and jealousy and fear. But what we've learned we can always unlearn.
When peak communication is most needed it's often most difficult. There can be no judgments in this level of communication. Emotions as such aren't good or bad, and they need to be reported at the time they're happening, not ten years later. Thus we can raise difficult issues which otherwise we push under the carpet and ignore.
When we are open and honest like this, we open the door for the other person to be open and honest also. It gives us a feeling of mutual sharing, new confidence, maturity. So often in families we don't let people mature.
Good communication is not automatic. We have to clear out the dirt in the communication channels. We need to start with ourselves, move from where we are and stretch into new dimensions in our relationships.