Have you ever told your partner or parent or child or friend “I just Need You To communicate With Me!”? Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of that comment. It seems like a simple enough statement, but what does it really mean? What are most people looking for when they say they want others to communicate with them?
Dictionary.com defines communication as: the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. Seems reasonable enough. Yet have you noticed that communication is rarely that simple or easy or charge free?
We are told that communication is a two way thing. As separate individuals, we communicate to others, then we expect them to communicate back to us. But many people fail to ask the questions and be the energy that would actually set us and the other person free. Instead, most people use “communication” to get their point across, convince the other person that they need to agree, and generally go into some kind of judgment or blame or other contracted position. Consider these examples: Why haven’t you taken the trash out yet? or Why are you always late? or Why won’t you share your feeling with me? Or, I just need to tell you my Truth! Most of us are guilty of having said something like that at some point. It’s what we’ve learned to do. However, how often does it create the result we desire? Pretty much never!
The good news is that there is a very different way that you can approach this whole communication conundrum.
Here are some tips:
- Recognize that communication as discussed above is highly over rated. We are told that “talking things out” is the answer to our relationship problems, but the overwhelming failure of marital and couples counseling reflects how ineffective talking about problems actually is. Have you ever noticed that when you change your behavior and your energy, other people change around you? When were in an energy of confrontation and we speak from there, no one wants to have anything to do with us, but change that energy to allowance and gratitude and the people around you being to show up differently.
- Notice, that in reality, everyone is communicating with everyone all of the time. The fact that it doesn’t necessarily involve words doesn’t mean that people aren’t conveying a wealth of information about themselves with their energy, body language and actions. Have you ever walked into a room and known that someone was sad or angry or shut down or joyful? What if you allowed yourself to access all that you know about nonverbal communication? Might that change how you approach others? Remember, we are all far more aware than we generally allow ourselves to be.
- Use the awareness and knowing that you possess to inform your choices of how when and where to communicate. One mistake many of us make is to tell people something that they can’t hear. Then, when they don’t respond in a way that we would like them to, we tend to get angry. For example, have you ever tried to talk to a friend about an issue that is obvious to everyone else – perhaps they are in an abuse relationship, or they are drinking too much, and instead of thanking you for your help and caring they attack you? That’s an example of telling something they can’t here.
- Let go of expectations. If you can speak with someone without an agenda, and without judgments, but with questions, you invite openness, vulnerability and possibilities. This also involves being in allowance of what they have to say. Remember, whatever anyone says is just their interesting point of view!
- Be willing to be vulnerable yourself. What might that create? We thing vulnerability is a weakness, but just the opposite is true. When we’re being vulnerable, we are open to possibilities. When we’re barricaded up, we really can’t receive anything that doesn’t match out judgments.
- Let go of taking things personally. Whether you are praised or insulted it is never about you, it is always about the other person! Everyone sees through their own lens. Not taking things personally creates space and ease. For example, many people feel that if their relationship ends, it has to be someone’s fault, and some blame must be assigned. What does that create? Just because a relationship ends, does not mean that anyone is at fault. It indicates that the two people are no longer compatible and it’s time to move on.
- Allow yourself to be more present in your life, including with other people. When people are really present, they often find that there is much less need for words. They just know what’s going on, because there’s much less separation of them from others.
How much more ease in life might we all have if we used our words for true questions, added more allowance, were willing to be vulnerable and to be in our awareness? How light might that be?