John Powell a popular writer in the 70’s and 80’s wrote a book on communication called Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? Insights into Personal GrowthIn this book he share his idea that there are five different levels on which we can communicate, and an understanding of these levels is essential.
These are as follow:
• Level 5: small talk – shallow conversation takes place.
• Level 4: factual conversation- information with out personal comments
• Level 3: Ideas and opinions -you expose your thoughts, feelings and opinions.
• Level 2: Feelings and emotions- what is going on inside you- how you feel about your partner or situation. You verbalize feelings of frustration, anger, resentment, or happiness.
• Level 1: Deep insight- rare insightful moments will occur when you are perfectly in tune with another in understanding, depth and emotional satisfaction. Usually a peak experience or something deeply personal is related. Both parties feel enriched in these conversations.
What would you think of him if I tell you he was not married… well, you would probably think he was smart, which I believe he was. He was also a Jesuit priest and teacher who was later accused of sexual abuse by at least five of his students and who settle in court before he died in 2009. Perhaps by now, you don’t think so highly of Powell as when you read my first statement.
It is true that many of us struggle with certain tendencies and struggles that causes our relationships to strain, and is not necessary sexual abuse. For example, for me is criticism, if you were my friend, you will probably not feel the strength of this fault in my character right away, or may be even ever, but if you were going to ask my husband who has live under the same roof for almost 12 years with my dummy mouth he will assure you I was being honest.
As Powell, many of us who are counselors, like to read about psychology, relationships and may be very good at giving a great presentation on the topic, we also have struggles. Being a Pastor’s wife I can tell you that the same happens at church, you see pious people who preach about God’s love, give bible studies, are generous on their tithes, but are unable to really love their brother. We say one thing and do another, we lack congruency and this confuses people, especially those who love us and are closest to us.
I believe congruency is an important aspect in a relationship that strives for true intimacy. As many of us know “actions speak louder than words”. With time this phrase as become very dear to me as I am married to a man who I love, and who does not talk much about love, but who lives love in the way he acts towards our children and I.
Therefore, I ask that you stop for a moment to think about what are some of the things that you are currently struggling with and that deviate you from being congruent. The truth is that as a religious writer put it
“He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of resistance, blinds his eyes and stifles conviction. Every sin of indulgence sown will bear fruit” Patriarchs and Prophets: How it all Began
At the end of our lives I am sure you don’t want to be remembered as the “great writer with a secret sin” as Powell did. Because it was through his actions he came to discredit much of the great work he was striving for.
Today is a good day to ask God to help you to be congruent, to help you stop that secret sin that nobody knows about. Today is time to ask Him to help you live and act according by the principles you believe and value.
My question for you today is simple: if we say we love our children, our partner and our friends when was the last time you spend time with them alone and really talk at least on level 4 of Powel’s theory?
It is for you alone to answer this question and as it is for me alone to go now and practice cello with my eight-year-old son, it’s time for me to go and get on the floor with my daughter and play passing the little bus and I hope by this they hear loud and clear: “I love you, for real”.