When we are young we are taught to speak. We are told what the words mean, how they combine into different meanings, and how to listen and vocalize with others. What we are not taught is how to fully communicate. How to use our tone, body and facial expression, and even silence, to clearly and authentically share our thoughts and emotions.

I thought that knowing how to communicate was something that was a normal part of being human, and that I should just instinctively know how to do it. As a young girl I knew the words and their meanings, but I made mistakes sharing my feelings and emotions. Those mistakes made me shrink far into myself, embarrassed that I was unable to do something that every human could do.

And the mistakes continued. Why? Because I just assumed that I wasn’t very good at it, and as it was a natural part of being human, how could I get better?

Since it wasn’t something that I could learn, I accepted and adapted. I focused so much on my tone and expression, and became so controlled in everything I expressed, that I didn’t say much. Or I lost control entirely and let loose with everything that was bottled up inside. You can imagine the consequences of that, and how losing control just sent me back to being even more controlled.

The older I got, the more I became aware that communication is something I could learn. As in everything in life, the mistakes helped me. By looking at each one and seeing where I went wrong, I started to understand how to authentically and honestly share my feelings. I am still learning how to successfully communicate during stressful moments, but I am getting there. One mistake at a time.

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