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Feeling A Disconnect

Do you sometimes wonder what people in Washington are thinking?  I sure do.

I ran into a neighbor this morning and she was talking about how the cost of everything is going up and money doesn’t go as far as it once did. Almost everyone I know complains about that. I get sticker shock when I get to the cash register at the supermarket and wonder what it’s going to cost me every time I fill my car’s gas tank.

Many agree that when they hear our politicians say things are getting better, they wonder on what planet do those people live? They’re feeling disconnected from their elected officials who don’t seem to be sharing, or empathizing with, their daily experience. When the powers that be quote numbers on the cost of living, which do not include the everyday items we all have to purchase, we don’t feel understood and some begin to doubt the validity of what they tell us.

So what happens when one feels disconnected from people in their immediate environment? Well, that depends on the context and on the individuals involved but in broad terms the experience is similar to the disconnect with Washington yet more emotionally charged. I can imagine circumstances where a person might feel confused, frustrated, angry, anxious, lonely, depressed, hopeless, abandoned, etc.

The lack of feeling understood, listened to or supported is a common complaint when I see couples in my psychotherapy practice. It’s impossible to feel intimately close to someone when you have that experience.

At work, people may feel resentful or unmotivated when they sense such a disconnect with co-workers.

To avoid creating a gulf between you and others:

  • Keep in mind that empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Before you speak or act, think about what impact your words or actions are likely to have on your counterpart.
  • When responding to someone, ask yourself whether you’re really addressing the issue they’re referring to.
  • If you don’t communicate your needs, they’re not likely to be met. If you don’t consider another person’s needs, you may unintentionally fall short of meeting them.
  • The mind has a way of filling in the blanks. Thus, the clearer your communications, the less likely you are to be misunderstood.
  • Be careful of written communication especially on, but not limited to, important or emotionally charged matters. Written words are flat – they don’t convey tone or facial expression – and can be easily misinterpreted.

 

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