I thought it appropriate to kick off the Masterhearting blog with a post on heart-centred communication, which demands we strip away the masks we put on when relating to other people to be more of ourselves. This requires courage, but the rewards – not least the huge emotional freedom it brings – are immense.
So how do we communicate in an authentic way which truly reflects how we feel, not just what we are (consciously) thinking about? Is it always a good idea?
Have you stopped recently to think about how you communicate? Most of us, most of the time, use only our mouth and ears, and usually in inverse proportion to the number we have of each. Using our other senses, being authentic and communicating from the heart is a challenge, but one which heart-centred entrepreneurs and leaders are called to take up.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.Epictetus, Greek philosopher
Just the listening part seems hard. I mean really listening, with undivided attention. Not thinking about what we want to say next. Worrying about pausing after they finish to give a considered reply – especially when there are more than two of you and someone else may jump in if you don’t get there first!
It’s also difficult to let others hear their own thoughts, to give them time to think about what you – or they – have said. We live in a society where time is money and no moment should be wasted.
The “modern” era that began with the Enlightenment replaced mysticism with a rational, scientific mindset which also saw increasing disconnect with the heart as a source of wisdom and intelligence, even as scientists in the 19th century discovered a second “brain” right there in the heart.*
The industrial revolution saw this disconnect reach new heights as money and financial success became the driving force of “progress”. Emotion became a source of weakness, and expressing them a sign of that weakness. We stopped listening to our own hearts and much less that of others.
Yet if you pay attention it is usually quite easy to see how people are feeling without them speaking a word. In fact, we unconsciously pick up on non-verbal communication and if the verbal and non-verbal messages are different, we feel unease or distrust. Equally unconsciously, we constantly give our own emotional state away – even what we truly think, behind the masks of so-called “professionalism”, social etiquette and denial.
Integrity is congruence between what you know, what you profess, and what you do.Nathaniel Branden
Heart-centred communication is all about achieving congruence between our inner selves and how we communicate with the rest of the world. When we are truly congruent, we become a magnet for the people who will help us achieve what our hearts are calling us to do.
This is because that congruence produces a powerful vibration which attracts others who are a vibrational match for us. When how we communicate truly reflects who we are and what we are thinking, this transparency is picked up at a deep, non-conscious level.
Of course the opposite is also true – when we feel one thing but say another, our body language gives us away, as I said earlier. It is much harder to lie with our non-verbal communication than with words. To demonstrate, just think of the last time you were feeling preoccupied or stressed and when someone asked if there was something wrong, you replied “No, I’m fine!”
The benefits of heart-centred communication
As you know, the purpose of The Masterhearting Club is to help us become more balanced in the use of our hearts and minds. This balance allows us to listen more clearly to what our soul is trying to tell us. By soul, I mean our true essence, who we are beyond our physical body and mind. It’s tempting to go down a spiritual rabbit hole here, but we’ll leave discussions about the soul for another time.
For now, let’s focus on why you’re here in the first place. To get in touch with that part of you that knows you have something you need to do in this life and find the support you need to express it in this world. That, at least, is what is trying to manifest through what has emerged as The Masterhearting Club – the support network for heart-centred entrepreneurs and leaders.
By listening to this deeper part of you (actually it’s all of you, but most of it is hidden!) you are led to take inspired action which will take you closer to your goals. While it may not seem so immediately, every small action that you take as a result of listening and responding (that’s communication, right?!) helps you express yourself more authentically in this world.
We all know that actions speak louder than words, so as you do so – when your actions truly communicate what your soul is aching to create – you automatically become more congruent.
As I’m sure you also know, your physical state can affect your emotional state and vice versa. The good news is you can improve one by improving the other. For example if you’re feeling down but make a conscious effort to lift your head, this can instantly change your mood, by improving breathing and circulation. We also know that better “Subjective Wellbeing”, as doctors call positive attitude and humour, can shorten recovery times from illness and surgery.
The relevance of this to heart-centred communication? Well, if you are not fully congruent now, you can change either side of the equation to affect the other. So if you make more of an effort to speak from the heart, you will be driven to take actions which reflect your heart’s desires. And if you take action that comes from the heart you will naturally communicate more congruently with your purpose.
At the beginning of the post I asked if speaking from the heart is always a good idea. I hope you realise from the rest that I am not simply talking about speaking the sometime brutal truth – that is called speaking your mind, anyway! There is also a difference between criticising and observing, something I recently read about in a short, but excellent book by Ferran Ramon-Cortés, communication lessons from whom I will be sharing in future posts, after reading three of his books (so far).
For now, I hope I have sown the seed of a
thought feeling that we can start living the life we want simply by beginning to listen to our hearts and communicating what we hear.
* A brain is simply an autonomous nervous system and we have three: one in the head, one in the heart and one in the gut. Here’s a good (short) Medium article to tickle your interest: Understanding The Three “Brains” in Our Body (And Their Critical Role at Work). The only thing I don’t agree with is the statement that the brain in your head “is what allows for consciousness and awareness”…I am convinced by research into near-death experiences and spiritual teachings that consciousness transcends the brain and indeed the whole physical body.