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Be Aware of Levels of Communication
There are many levels of communication and it’s essential to speak on all of them. We need to recognize the level on which we and others are speaking and what we seek from each other. Moreover, the more skilled we are at switching from one level to another, the better communication will flow. In “The Four Levels of Communication,” Charlie Gilkey explains (https://www.productiveflourishing.com, accessed 11/25/19):
- Social level: “… where we talk about the weather, sports, news, or around the things
we care about. It’s superficial…and allows us to function among strangers and determine whether the people around us are foes or potential friends.”
- Mental level: “… where we talk about ideas, facts, non-controversial beliefs, plans,
strategies, and tips. Most of our professional conversations fall into this area…”
- Emotional level: “…in which we talk about our wants, needs, aspirations, fears and
joys” and express them in verbal and non-verbal ways, showing “trust, vulnerability, and transparency,” afraid to be wrong and absolutely terrified to be rejected, hurt, and scarred.”
- Spiritual level: “…the absolute highest level of resonance, with no distortion from
social, mental or emotional games—it’s almost as if there’s a direct energetic embrace during communication…no push, pull, take, give, win, lose, me, you; it all melts away.”
Gilkey explains that there’s only a small gap between social and mental communication and people can usually switch back and forth between them and feel quite safe, but there’s a “wide chasm” between those two and the “emotional” level in which people are required to leave their safety zone and risk by opening up more intimately. It’s even harder for people to let down their guard 100% as happens at the spiritual level in which your ego falls away and it’s just your naked heart exposed for all to see.
Many people surround themselves with folks who can engage only on communication levels one and two but yearn for the more intimate interaction of levels three and four. Without it, they turn to food for satisfaction. Others are unable to engage in levels three and four, leaving them feeling lonely and disconnected and they too turn to food.
On what level are your communications? Do you mostly talk about people and events and hardly ever share emotions? Does your partner or mate express themselves on multiple levels, including spiritual? Are most of your conversations with friends on the emotional or spiritual level so that you feel validated, understood and supported? If you want deeper and more satisfying communication, learn how to enjoy and seek it out.