These are the 4 layers of communication:
1. What we mean
2. What we say
3. What the other person hears
4. What the other person makes it mean
In order to understand how this works, begin by taking a look and analyzing the conversations you have with others. Examine all parts of the exchange and notice where things may have gone wrong.
When you are evaluating conversations, it is critical to ask the question, “why would this person say this?” If someone says to you, “I don’t like you,” you want to ask yourself, why are they saying that? This allows you to recognize that they might be saying this because they’re scared, they think you’ve hurt their feelings, they’re blaming you for what’s going on in their life, etc. Most importantly, this helps YOU break the pattern of reacting in a way that won’t help the conversation. Asking questions is such a powerful pattern-breaking tool during a conversation as well—try asking a question like, “Here’s what you just said and here’s how I interpreted that. Is that the way you wanted me to interpret that?” Or, “tell me what you’re feeling & thinking, what do you want me to know?” When you make a true effort to listen hard, consider their side, and fully hear them, you will likely be able to see areas of common ground and remain in a state of compassion.