Why is it so hard for us to talk to each other? How to break down the emotional wall?
Talking is easy. Just open our mouth and then talk.
But to communicate is harder, much harder than babbling and talking for the sake of asking.
To communicate is for both parties to be willing to open up and listen closely to what others have to say.
The short story ‘A Thousand Years of Good Prayers’ manage to capture the beauty of communication between two souls, Mr Shi, a traditional Chinese and Madame, an Iranian. Despite the indifference in culture, background and language, Mr Shi and Madame shared thoughts and communicate more often than Mr Shi himself did with his daughter.
An excerpt from the text ‘…a love in which they talked freely, a love in which their minds touched’ cleverly illustrates the idea that our minds connect when we talk. Mr Shi faced difficulty communicating with his daughter because one party, the daughter refuses to open her mind to talking. Her daughter was brought up to be like her mother, non-confrontational and modest. Yet, being brought up to see her own father secretive, quiet and unwilling to share his feelings with her had created a distance between her and her father. Though they talked a little in meals, she never shared how her day was like or what problems that she faced in her lives.
Talking might be hard due to clashes of thoughts and opinions. If both parties insist on what they think is right or wrong or what is appropriate or not, mutual understanding that fuels communication will not happen because neither party refuses to give in. In this text, the daughter did not open up about the truth behind her divorce and her extramarital affair to his father because she knew that her traditional father will not support her. She enjoyed her relationship with her new lover yet her father saw her as ‘ an abandoned women who make mistakes in loneliness’.
Emotional walls are built from distrust. These walls are not easy not penetrate nor broken down.
A person deceived by the most trusted figure in his life will have emotional barriers against the likes of others. This couldn’t be better exemplified by the character ‘daughter’ in this text whereby she felt deceived by her father who failed to confess to his family but instead chose to stay quiet.
Sometimes, I would say, silence is gold.