For years, I taught a college course called “Human Relations.” It was always my favorite class to teach because the content blended principles of communication and psychology, and was the inspiration for many of my Communichology™ concepts going forward.
The course was often misunderstood at the outset by both students AND staff because the title is so obviously deceptive.
Many people zoomed right on by the significance of these two words, and therefore missed the power of the course and its many practical concepts and applications in day-to-day life. Further, this course and its content was often dismissed as “common sense.”
This stuff is easy to talk about, but difficult to do.
>> Human Relations = to relate (effectively) to other humans… pretty straight-forward right? Not necessarily…
Here’s where it gets tricky…
Effectively relating to others, and demonstrating empathy, requires us first to effectively relate to, and understand ourselves, honestly. Again, easy to say, hard to do… no small task for many, dare I say, MOST people.
This subject is as internal as it is external… just like looking in a mirror is both an internal and external exercise simultaneously. We first have to see ourselves, and then hopefully we will “see” ourselves. Without being truly in touch with ourselves first, we will be arguably less effective when dealing with others. Communication works if it’s worked.
The mirror has to reflect both ways. Many “get” this, but fail to really get into it fully.
It’s work. It’s often very difficult work. But it’s very necessary.
the shiFt: there are 3 steps in this journey:
- Awareness – We first have to tune-in and begin to know > what we don’t know, or think we may know > but may be mistaken about our own psychology and communication skills.
To do: Admit that perception isn’t always reality, and begin owning both your good and not-so-good tendencies and habits.
- Education – Next, we need to set about learning more about ourselves; about our blind spots… and about how our history, and our experiences shape the complex nuances of our interpersonal communications with others.
To do: Take a Human Relations-type course, workshop, or seminar >> or two, or three…
- Application – Finally, we have to act on this awareness and education and begin an ongoing process of applying what we now know… now. Define and then refine and repeat.
To do: Practice at home and on the job; a lot. Strive to miss less than most.
Far more than just common sense, human relations is a critical skill set that can be developed provided the proper amounts of courage, honesty, and ongoing diligence are present. The importance of this discipline cannot be overstated.
Becoming a master of yourself affords you the opportunity to be masterful with others… in many kinds of situations, most of the time.
And who doesn’t stand to benefit from that?
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