When Beliefs Are A Barrier To Communication

Written by T. Marino

May 20, 2020

We communicate with others in a variety of ways.  We text, IM, email, Zoom, speak on the phone, use Facetime, and when we are social distancing or not, we communicate in person.  We communicate by body language, tone, voice, eye contact, inflection, essentially many ways.  Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel.”   The way we feel is directly related to how we communicate.

If we feel happy, our tone, pitch, language and body language is very different then when we are sad.  When we are angry or mad, we may be tense, have a harsh appearance, speak loudly or pace.   Our feelings will predict how we communicate.  We often hear people say, don’t speak to them when your mad or angry, because what you say and how you make the other person feel may change the outcome of the situation.

Emotions can cause of barriers to communication.  It is difficult to express ourselves when we don’t have control over our emotions.   It happens even when we are happy.  We may be so excited, our  energy rushing, that we don’t always know what we want to say or how we are conveying what we are saying.  When we are sad, our emotions may hold us back from expressing what we want to convey too.

This week I posted a question about what causes people to put up barriers in their communication.  I received some great feedback that has served as the theme of this blog.  I am going to focus on one barrier to communication, what we believe.

When we meet someone and are getting to know them, we may discover that they have different beliefs than we do.  And when someone else challenges those beliefs, it is difficult to gain the entire perspective that someone else may have.   How we see our beliefs at that time may cause us to question them.  When we question, we may become filled with doubt, frustration, or total confusion.  It may force us to change those beliefs.  But we don’t know how to change them.

Here are some helpful questions to ask when faced with a challenge to your beliefs:

  1. What do you believe? First ask yourself what you believe.  When a belief is challenged, it is important to list the things that you believe for yourself.  Focus on beliefs you have about yourself, then others, then ideologies that you hold.  Take an inventory of those beliefs by writing them out or listing them.
  2. Are your beliefs true? Second, ask yourself if you truly believe what you have written down. For the beliefs you wrote, determine for how long you have believed them.  Identify your experiences that made you believe them.  Was it something you formed on your own or did someone tell you to believe them?
  3. How do your beliefs benefit you? Sometimes our beliefs may be self-serving and protect us.  This is the benefit.  Once that belief has been challenged that protection may go away.  We are then left vulnerable and unsure.  Therefore, we construct a barrier in our relationships and communication.  We are uncomfortable with vulnerability.   We don’t want to face that we need to change our beliefs because we are afraid of what that may mean for us.
  4. What new beliefs do you need to form? If you have written something down or have a belief that is not true and not benefiting you, is it time to write a new belief?  Our beliefs change over time.  Our experiences inform new beliefs and disprove beliefs that we once had.   As we grow, we form new beliefs.  Maybe it is time for us to reevaluate what we believe.

When you are faced with a barrier in your communications with others because it is challenging your beliefs, use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate your beliefs.  Allow it to be an opportunity to take on a new perspective and therefore remove the barrier.   Do the work to make the changes.

If this is a difficult process and you need some help with forming new beliefs, take the opportunity for us to work together.  Reach out to me at [email protected] or schedule a complimentary session at www.monarchlifecoaching.com/free-intro-session/.

I hope you remain safe and well during our new normal!