Thursday, October 25, 2007

Appropriate Self-Disclosure

What should I say? This is a serious and appropriate question. There are days when we’re feeling less self esteem than others. We may feel the need to talk to someone and we might have warm feelings about the person to whom we are talking. In general, when we feel the need to talk to someone, older and more established relationship are safer. That would mean the stronger the bond between the two of you the better for you. When you’re feeling more confident and have greater self esteem you’re in a position to listen carefully with all your senses. That will put you in a position to accept and process the information you receive in self-disclosure from the other person. It will also aid you when you’re deciding what can or should be said at this moment.

Please let me say again that time is necessary to aid you in all communication. Things that are hurried almost always leave important gaps. You won’t notice the gaps, because you won’t want to see them. When human beings want to they can construct and defend some very elaborate structures which will eventually come tumbling down and leave us in much worse shape than we were in at the beginning. Take things slowly so that you can listen, ask for clarification, organize and store the information coming your way. Your brain does a lot in this area while you’re sleeping, which is another reason why we should be getting more sleep on a regular basis. The American way is to get too little sleep and that predisposes us to dangerous thought processes.

So, what should be said? Start with questions of position such as: “Where are you from?” “Where did you go to school?” “What do your parents do?” “Of the places you have lived, which appealed to you the most?” “Do you have a large family?” “Are you affiliated with a church?” “What is your favorite activity?” What is your favorite food?” This line of questioning will allow you to learn about the other person in ways that are fairly public and might be known through nonverbal communication had you had the opportunity. If the other person doesn’t have any idea of what to ask and is just sitting there like a bump on a log, then these questions become your script to talk about yourself. They are largely harmless potentially and can be discussed safely.

Move very slowly toward the things you seldom talk to others about. Keep in mind that you may never get to the point you where you want to talk to the other person about some of the things that you have thought about or are thinking about now. There are some things that we should only talk about to qualified professionals in an attempt to understand why we’re thinking about them in the first place. These things are extreme and without a doubt you haven’t acted on them anyway. If you have acted on them you can bet that somebody saw your nonverbal communication and have already assigned some unfortunate meaning to your actions. Put another way, don’t act on everything you think.

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