I love you. I’m sorry. Wait, that isn’t what I really meant to say -let me start over and explain myself better. Let me stop what I am doing, so I can give you my full attention. I didn’t really mean to do/say that, I was angry/frustrated/scared/worried because of things at work/school/finances and I am reacting to that, not to… (Fill in with whatever event was/is occurring at the moment of reaction).
These statements in and of themselves don’t appear to be too difficult to say and yet seemingly our average families and relationships are lacking in these vital words that could be a part of the components to clear and more effective communication, as well as the necessity to listening to one another in a manner that allows us to fully know what is happening to and with our loved ones; to better connect on a mental and emotional level in order to understand how to effectively communicate our needs, as well as understand their needs in order to have and maintain a lasting and fulfilling relationship.
The following are recommendations which you are invited to implement within all your relationships, between family members and your partner to increase the healthy, loving connection, communication and understanding that each of you are truly seeking:
1.Try intentionally understanding the other person’s meaning behind their words (be relaxed and open).
Make an effort to see your family member or partners reasoning or an aspect of where they are coming from that you could agree with.
Negative response to avoid: Rolling your eyes when your partner or family member is speaking.
The response isn’t cute or acceptable behavior from children, which is taught to them as a sign of disregard to parents and thus from a partner would denote greater disrespect to their spouse as well, discounting any value or importance to what they have to say, particularly during a tone when it appears clear that the conversation is of a serious or important nature to that person. This same intention devalues what a family member is sharing by this negative response.
2. Pay attention and show respect and concern/regard.
The simple act that involves you physically, mentally and emotionally being present, aware and actively listening to your family member and/or partner relays the message that you care and that they matter to you because you are paying attention and respect them enough to do so.
Negative response to avoid: Looking bored, excessive yawning, distraught expression indicating “are you done yet,” repeatedly looking at your watch, continuing to watch TV/play on computer, etc.
This behavior relays to your family member and partner that you have no time and/or no respect for their concerns/needs or that what they say is not important enough to be heard. It can also diminish a chance for you to deepen your relationship with that individual with quality time and even words of affirmation. In relating to your partner, this is also a part of satisfying the emotional relationship and part of your connectivity which deepens intimacy.
3. Resolve an issue before it grows in size -the sooner the better.
In our mind, when something first arises, we may tend to exaggerate the concern, however, the longer you wait to address it – the more unclear the other person may become when you attempt to try and gain understanding. Address your concerns as soon as possible, then everyone can know where each other stands on a matter and eliminate your doubts, fears, concerns or confusion right away. Then you can also sleep easier and not create other misconceptions in your mind based on one lone idea! So clear the air, until it is clear -there is no stupid question!
Negative response to avoid: Complaining about someone bringing up a topic again, when they need clarity… “Are you going to bring that up again?” (This included beating yourself up internally.)
That response is said to avoid discussing a topic that the other person is uncomfortable discussing and sometimes, for a short while, it shuts down the one requesting clarity. Unfortunately, whatever the issue is, it will remained unsettled and if unresolved, will create a greater problem in poor communication and distance in the relationship -it doesn’t just disappear; it escalates in a more harmful manner.
Allow this to support your goal for a healthy relationship in family and partners. We’ll meet again for continuation in additional steps to support and deepen our communication skills in part 3 of “Can we talk.”