Relearning how to communicate by practicing listening and observing non-judgmentally will allow you to communicate from your heart.Relearning Communication
People learn to speak at a very early age, putting words together to express their needs. As people develop into more social beings and start interacting with their peers, their language becomes more connected to their emotions and they start using words to express happiness, sadness, frustrations, and everything in between. As people grow older, the ego becomes an obstacle for encounters, and they let it play a big part in relationships. Many believe that communicating during conflicts means putting themselves up and the other person down. Problem solving becomes the process of presenting facts to prove the other wrong, rather than finding a common medium. People end up forgetting, or feeling unable to look at both sides of a conflict to see how it can be resolved without the process of making the other feel ashamed, wrong, embarrassed, etc. The feelings of shame and guilt are so incarnated in our lives that we are sometimes unaware of when we are making others experience those emotions.
Many of us teach children to say “sorry” if they make a mistake, with little conversation after. However, “sorry” can hold little meaning without the conversation addressing why the mistake was made and what the person can do to prevent the mistake in the future. Questions such as, “why did that happen?” and, “how can I support you in doing better the next time?” can assist a child in thinking through their present and future actions. Additionally, the questions can support a child in learning how to regulate their emotions as they will be able to communicate through their problems. As adults, we can reeducate ourselves to be able to offer our children a better form of communication. We can teach them to listen, to observe, to validate the other person’s feelings and be opened to find solutions without judgment, shame and guilt involved.
It is important to become aware of how words affect others. There is a saying, “it is not what you say, but how you say it”. It would benefit us all to build awareness of how we say what we say. So, how do we do that? Our first responsibility is to ourselves. We must know and acknowledge our own needs. We then practice listening to other people’s needs and to their feelings. We practice honesty, self-reflection, and bravery to acknowledge when we have made a mistake as well as give ourselves the grace to admit when we are unsure of the mistake we have made.
Most importantly, we practice listening and observing non-judgmentally. Stating, “when you leave without saying goodbye, it makes me feel sad”, rather than, “why do you always leave without saying goodbye?!!!” Could make the difference between a fight and a conversation. While it takes a little more time and effort, this type of communication can weaken the fights and strengthen the love.
“When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt and needed rather than diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.” ~ Marshall Rosenberger