“Don’t take me around the world to get across the street,” a coworker of mine. I spent a lot of time chewing on this one because it applies in so many areas, personally and professionally, spiritually and relationally, in joy and pain. On the surface, it’s about directness and it makes sense. Think about how often you wish someone would just get to the point, or you know they aren’t being fully transparent so you want to cut through the bs. In this case it’s absolutely like, stop pulling my leg, just tell me what you need. In a professional sense, I’m experiencing this now. We are undergoing a ton of changes in my organization and I KNOW they know what they want to do but they are sharing very limited information. I see the roadblocks they are creating to sharing it and it’s making it impossible to make an informed decision for anyone else, myself included. Again, it’s like just get to the point and tell me what the deal is. In the spirit of communication, I LOVE this idea. Just be straightforward.
I know this is also something I’m guilty of every now and then. There are times it takes a minute to get to the point for me. There are times I know I need to just clear up what I’m thinking before I speak rather than constantly let the words (or my thoughts) spin. I hate being forced into the situation where I have to take the long route when it comes to teaching or explaining a situation. I also know it’s a tool I use as a crutch when I’m not 100% confident in an answer I have to give. I will go around and around trying to talk my way into an answer or I want people to think I know what I’m doing so I keep talking. That doesn’t do anyone a damn bit of good and I often end up confusing everyone, myself included. It’s an insecurity thing and a need to be perceived as an expert. I don’t want my position to be undermined (I have many reasons for that) so when I get nervous I keep talking to appear on top of it. It’s a weak guise and I know people see through it. I’m working on it 😊.
There is another aspect to this, also very personal to me. People with anxiety overexplain for myriad of reasons. It’s a trauma response to being gaslit and to feeling unheard and a need to be accepted. We seek approval so we feel like we have to talk our way into everything and convince people we made the right decision. We just want to be heard and understood and accepted, yet the oversharing leads to more misperception and frustration and misunderstanding. For the person with anxiety this feels like torture, especially when they take the time to walk through every scenario and we still end up on the wrong side of the street so to speak. It is really painful to be around people who are intentionally confrontational or who choose to misunderstand. One thing I HAVE learned is that these are not my people. The habit is hard to break, but if I find myself needing to defend everything I’m doing, I know it’s time to move on.
In general, for communication, it’s important to be as concise as possible and as direct as possible. Being evasive gets you nowhere and all of us empaths have a good idea of when we are being lied to. We also know when it would be easier to just share the truth and get to the point. Even if we seem emotionally fragile, the truth is we handle the truth far better than being lied to or “protected”. There is never any need to hide the truth unless you are getting something from someone that you wouldn’t get otherwise. That’s manipulation at its finest and it happens all the time and those are not your people. However, it’s important to remember not all interactions are about that type of energy. Sometimes it just takes a minute to get to the point Sometimes there are details that are important to understanding the background and we need the full explanation. At it’s core, sometimes we just need to be heard. Sometimes we have to learn to be patient to understand the full breadth of the story. You never know what you will learn or what someone is going through and how you can help them with an ear.
But the key that I think is most important is this: sometimes that journey takes you around the world because of the things you are meant to see. Think about it. If you simply walked across the street, you wouldn’t have seen anything else. You wouldn’t have learned anything else. You wouldn’t have experienced what you needed to. Sometimes it isn’t so much about needing to be direct, it’s about all of the things that come with it. The universe isn’t intentionally evasive, no. It’s putting us in circumstances that evolve us and teach us what we need to know. It’s showing us what we need to grasp in order to fulfill our part. So sometimes it’s ok to take the long road. That’s the beauty of this life: the journey is yours. You get to decide which way to take. Allow it to take you where you need to be. We are constantly shaped by our interactions and there are days the journey is short and days the journey is long. We need to appreciate them both because you never know how many days you get. Just learn to enjoy the ride.