One of my highlight of the week is the revelation about two levels of communication, topical level of communication and relational level of communication.
As its name indicates, a topical level of communication deals with the topic being discussed. A relational level of communication is the message communicated to the other party about his or her identity and destiny – telling the other person who he or she is and why he or she is here on this planet.
For example, you are getting into a fight with a sibling because of the CD you took without permission. The topical level of communication is the CD which does not seem to be a big deal. After all you put the CD back to its place and were careful not to break it. The relational is the message of lack of respect to the sibling. By taking his or her belongings without his permission, you are telling him “you do not deserve respect”, “you do not matter and your opinion do not matter” etc.
I have always try to deal with problems in a topical level and was never able to understand why a simple thing like a CD is such a big deal to other people. I even blamed others to be childish and needs to grow up. I was not able to understand that I was communicating a message that is destroying the identity of the other person by my careless act. I was not able to understand that people were not reacting to the topic being discussed but to the message I was communicating.
Dealing with problem in the relational level will make the topical level disappear. I hope this short highlight has encouraged you. Be blessed.