If you weren't interested in finding out then you would not be here. When I tell you what it is, you may think you know a lot about it and are good at it. You may say, "well, that is obvious."
I will say to you that while you may not be good at doing this you can be. You are responsible for the outcomes you create. Many of us have learned the wrong model of communication. It is a result of what has been passed on to you by your parents, family, society, friends, colleagues and the school system.
What is the wrong model? To try to win, not to listen and understand. To defend, to attack, to be a victim. Not to be clear in what you want, need or feel. Not to be empathetic and understand. To act as if it is more important to be right than it is to be balanced.
Good communication is a key to protecting and improving relationships and marriages. In a relationship you must clearly explain what you need, want or feel and the other must truly hear you and understand. The biggest challenge for most of us is in listening to truly hear our partner.
There are many reasons for this, the biggest being that you are too busy not hearing the other. What are you busy doing? What is going on in your head? Are you preparing your answer so you can win? Maybe you are talking to yourself in an ongoing drama about how many times you have heard this before. Or you might be busy judging and criticising. "There he goes again. The same old shit about parking the car."
When you are so busy talking in your head, planning, analysing, criticising, ridiculing, denying, justifying, defending, attacking etc., you are not hearing and understanding what the other is saying. While this is quite natural as it is the only model you have learned, it does not support and build a great relationship.
Two vital points lay behind this. First, you can only control your own behaviour, beliefs and thoughts. You cannot control the other even though some believe they can. Second, to truly hear someone is to listen to them fully so that you stand in their shoes and imagine what they feel and mean. You must be empathetic. To be truly heard is to be loved and respected.This is not easy to do even though it is easy to understand.
It gets particularly difficult when you do not agree with what is being said. You do not have to agree but you must listen with heart and understand the others' story and beliefs. Remember their feelings are their feelings and they are true for them.
To rescue or improve your relationship you must learn and use a better model of communication. It is simple to understand and you must be committed to practice and practice. It took many years of practicing and using the old way so it takes a little time to get this working. Remember, be compassionate with yourself and your partner. Making mistakes is how we learn.
What I will share with you in the next post are some good techniques for speaking and for listening. As well I will talk about being clear in what you say by using the XYZ statement format.®
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Until next time, speak clearly, listen to the other and be conciously loving, Bob and Marianne.
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