This was sent to me by a good friend. It has some excellent tips! Sharing it in then hope that it’ll help someone somehow… 🙂
The largest single factor which determines the kind of relationships we build with others is our communication skills. Communication covers how we pass information back and forth. It is not just the words we use it is much more than that. It includes how we make meaning of the words and how others make meaning of our words.
When I work with couples they almost always define the problem as being “we don’t communicate”. What they really mean is that they no longer feel heard, accepted, and valued by their partner. They are still communicating however they may be communicating through silence, anger, avoidance, blame, criticism etc. but not through love and understanding.
Tip 1. Say what you mean
Make sure your words and body language are congruent. Do not agree with something if you don’t believe it. Stay in the present and address the issue at hand rather than bringing up past hurts and events.
Tip 2. Speak so you will be heard
How is your language? Are you using an abrasive accusatory tone? If you want to be taken seriously speak in a manner that is respectful of your partner and of yourself. Talk in the way you want to be spoken to.
Tip 3. Control your anxiety
All of us when we are worried, scared or angry feel a lot of emotion and we become self-protective. Find a way to internally quiet yourself. When in overload with anxiety one tool that many people have found helpful is to silently start counting to yourself. This act puts you back into the cognitive arena and makes it possible for you to think as to how you want to handle the situation at hand.
Tip 4. Listen to understand
In order to listen we have to be calm enough ourselves so we can hear. Listening is a skill that requires wanting to hear what the other person has to say. Ask follow up questions so you can really understand what your partner is saying instead of rebutting before you really understand the essence of what is being said.
Tip 5. Understand the power of relationships
Couple relationships are made up of “I” and “You” and together they form WE. Thus when communicating all three factors are always present. Couples develop a balance in their relationship that can either enhance them or limit them. By taking responsibility to say what you think and feel and really listening to your partner you are respectful of the WE you have created.
Tip 6. Have a caring attitude
We have control over our attitude. You can look at what’s positive in your relationship and make sure that your attitude allows you and your partner to bring forth your best.
Tip 7. Show love through words and action
The most loving caring words don’t mean much if they are not followed up through action. It is through our behavior and words that show acceptance and love.