Fear and Loathing in Communication

Es mejor vivir con miedo que no vivir por miedo

I listened to Voices in the Family today because Andrea was one of the guests, but the entire show spoke to me. Andrea was, of course, fabulous (you could hear her smile!), but the show was a perfect context for discussing this blog.

I’m lucky, in my daily life, to have the kind of communication that was the topic of today’s show. Therapy, my work, and being friends with Andrea (and so many people like her) have given me the willingness to work at the practice of trust and love. Practice and willingness are at the heart of hearing and telling our stories, of course, since, as “Dr. Dan” said, none of us knows what we’re doing.

Despite practice, I still sometimes fear and presume that “others” won’t understand. As one caller said, this kind of communication is not consistent with the society in which we live. We are afraid that others won’t be willing or able to hear what we have to say, so we don’t talk. What others have to say scares us, so we won’t listen. If we make jokes about death, people will freak. Our lived experience scares the bejeezus out of us, so we write “Ca” on medical charts.

Anthropologist Mary Douglass, though, reminds us to ask not only what kind of society we have, but what kind of society we want. We create the society we want when we practice living (despite our fears) with trust and love. We have the chance to create the kind of safety that is so important to communication. I am so grateful to Andrea and Jon for this blog, since it gives us such a chance.

When we are able to get past our fear and say what’s on our mind, we’re as blessed as the person who truly hears us. When we are able to let go of our ego and emotions long enough to hear what someone else is telling us, we bless one another in the same way. I am consistently “mutually blessed” by my experiences with others when I give them my trust and love. But this is so often one-on-one, and is rarely experienced in a larger setting. I get to do this in a classroom (and here). That Andrea and all of you are able and willing to do this here (and that Dr. Dan does this on the radio makes me very happy).

Don’t let fear and loathing get you down. And don’t go to Las Vegas and act a fool. Give people your trust and your love and some of them will come around. It’s better to live with fear than to not live because of fear.

5 Responses to “Fear and Loathing in Communication”

  1. Andrea says:

    I am so glad you were able to extract that much depth and meaning from my on air experience. And so much from our friendship. I however only have a vague recollection of what I said. And I have an equally vague recollection of the every day since so much of the time I am struggling to remember what a toothbrush or parking garage is. I am usually so engrossed in the day to day of having a family that it is only for a few brief moments a day that i let myself contemplate the big picture. I talk all the time. I reveal. I am an open book. I am glad so far its been a good read.

  2. Rob says:

    An excellent read. Expecially that time when you brushed your teeth with that parking garage!

  3. Lhianna says:

    I listened today too. and yes, I could hear Andrea smile! Rob, you are so eloquent. I also thought how nervous I would be to talk on the radio. I don’t think I could do it. Thank you, Andrea, for having the guts to spill your soul on air so that many people can hear what you have to say. It is definitely worth it.
    Love to you!…Lhianna

  4. Rob says:

    Hey, Andrea.

    What, no picture? I left it blank ’cause I know you like to surf and find aesthetically pleasing pics!


  5. Julia George says:

    Hi. I hope you are feeling better. I want you to know that I love you and you are one of the biggest mommie inspirations I know! I talked to you about Protocel before, and I want you to go to the site and read about it You have told me to read many things when I needed help and now I want you to read something. The first thing I want you to read is this link about Protocel.

    The nex thing I want you to read is a link about my friends kid’s battle with a brain tumor and she uses Protocel.

    The last thing I want you to read is this book called ” Out Smart Your Cancer”. Just to make sure you read the last one I am buying you copy and bringing it to your house.

    You have taught me many things about life and raising kids. I can’t thank you enough. Violet eats right now, she’s fully potty trained and my kids say please and thank you. I am smiling right now thinking about the dramatic phone calls you received from me! Thanks babe. See you soon!


    The mommy who found her way after meeting Andrea.