Communication exposes what is going on inside the human heart. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV). If your heart, your internal reality, is governed by fear, then you are going to telegraph that through your body language, facial expressions, words, and tone. Conversely, if your heart is governed by faith, hope, and love, you will release this reality through what you say and how you say it.
If your heart is governed by fear, then much of what you communicate is actually going to hide what is really going on inside. You hold back, pretend something doesn’t hurt, or act happy when your heart is breaking in an attempt to avoid the pain that being “real” can inflict.
It’s also possible that you (like many) were never taught how to interpret and translate the language of your thoughts, emotions, and desires into words, let alone communicate that with others. As a result, your internal reality has never been validated. Now ashamed and fearful–the results of not knowing how to communicate your feelings–you hide behind an acceptable social mask.
Fear of the truth is the great hijacker of communication. When you don’t have the courage or the ability to face the truth of what you feel, think, and need, you end up communicating confusing and inaccurate information–sometimes even downright falsehoods.
Ask yourself these two questions:
- If you never really learn to value and understand what’s going on inside you, how can you value and understand what is going on with another person?
- If you don’t know yourself, how can you get to know another person–someone with a completely different experience and perspective–and value the truth of who they are?
The answer to both questions is simple. You can’t.
In light of this, I thought I would share a few indications that might help you discover if fear has taken a hold of your heart, making it difficult to communicate the truth of what is inside.
1. Finding fault with everyone else but yourself
One of the most classic ways to avoid what is really happening inside of our hearts is simply to focus on what everyone else is doing wrong. This might take the form of gossip, or making a “bad guy” in every situation. The reason we do this is to avoid figuring out and taking care of what is really happening inside our own hearts.
2. Fear of being alone
Someone who has not really taken the time to deal with the fear or pain in their own heart may have a fear of being alone. In moments of quiet and reflection, emotion and feelings are exposed that they do not want to deal with. Instead of embracing those moments as an opportunity to learn and grow, they find themselves with others at all times, maybe moving from one unhealthy relationship to the next just to avoid the real pain coming from inside themselves.
3. Communicating untruths
Someone who is afraid to deal with what is happening in their own heart avoids saying how they actually feel at all costs. You might hear them say something like, “Oh, I don’t care, “ or “It doesn’t really matter to me” on any issue you might bring up. This is a classic pattern of passive behavior in which this person avoids courage and vulnerability by pretending their feelings don’t matter.
4. Someone who is always in conflict
A sure sign that someone has not effectively dealt with fear in their own heart is a trail of conflict that follows them everywhere they go. These “messes” happen as a result of the internal conflict a person feels. Every time they are in a new environment or have any down time, an internal need to start up controversy stirs up around them. It is almost as though they want to recreate the pain they are experiencing internally in the world around them.
Anger is one of the biggest indicators of internal conflict. Instead of recognizing pain and communicating this to others, anger is a way of deflecting what someone is actually feeling. When you are around someone who is angry all the time, it becomes clear that they rarely, if ever, say how they are actually feeling.
Recognizing when fear has taken over our communication and relationships can be difficult when we have gotten into unhealthy patterns, but…
Only those who value and understand themselves can value and understand others. Only those who communicate honestly with themselves can communicate honestly with others.
Ask yourself today. Is my heart governed by fear or by love? If you recognize that fear is driving your thoughts and behavior, then stop and remember that you are no longer a slave to fear (Romans 8:15), and that Jesus promised you would know the truth and be set free by the truth (John 8:32). Invite the Spirit of power, love, and self-control to cast out fear in your heart, give you the courage to face what’s going on inside you, and reveal the truth that will bring healthy healing and resolution. Remember, you are loved!
PSS) If you liked this blog, and are looking for more information about how to communicate effectively, read more about Learning how to Fight Fair or visit our purchase tab for more free resources.