“Who you are speaks so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Emerson
Have you ever considered what you are communicating when you are in silence? What kind of message you are sending out?
In her book, Dark Side of Light Chasers, the late Debbie Ford states that when we are not speaking we are saying volumes about who we are; our body language, our facial expressions, the energy we give off. Studies show that 86% of our communication is non-verbal; meaning that a mere 14% of what we verbalise makes any difference to those we are speaking with. And that is assuming we are communicating clearly and conveying in the tone we intend.
So, what we are trying to project and what we are projecting is not what is being perceived by our audience. Is the a scary prospect?
The reason for the potential miscommunication is that we unconsciously (or consciously) wear a mask when communicating as an essential disguise of what is really going on inside. The outer shell is who we are when we face the world. It hides the characteristics that make up our shadow, according to Ford. Some people project a layer of toughness that hides their sensitivity. We have all come across the company clown using humour to cover up an introvert. The colleague that does not suffer fools gladly? How often have you come across someone with a broad smiling face and incredibly sad eyes?
We see our outer shell serving as protection and seldom as something that is holding us back. Consider the potential that this shell may serve as the map for our personal growth. Ford says that our shell is the guide to all we are and all we don’t want to be. What is holding us back from creating who we actually are is our ego.
There is the potential to use other people to decipher our mask. According to Ford, it is most likely that the less pleasant traits we see in others are those lurking in our own shadow.
James Baldwin, a Jungian analyst, said, “One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.” It may be argued that when you facing off against your ego is an arduous task. It takes compassion to own a part of yourself that you were not aware of, denied, disowned, ignored or even hated. It takes compassion to accept being human and not being infallible. Yet, acknowledging and accepting those shadow traits has the potential to be liberating. After all,
“What you can’t be with won’t let you be” – Debbie Ford