I used to be the kind of person who would hold in all my emotions until they burst out of me—tumbling headfirst into an argument with my significant other.
It felt like a relief after the explosion but it was exhausting and didn’t actually solve anything.
The moment I started requesting my needs and wants, the dynamic of my relationships changed immediately.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
It is as simple as saying what you like and what you love as well as saying what you don’t like and what you hate. I replaced “you never call me” to “I would love it if you called me more often.”
Believe me, it is life changing.
If we choose to think and meditate on the situation first and also take a look at it from the other person’s side, we have the opportunity to revolutionise how we communicate to our loved ones. Here are six ways we can all improve our communication:
1. Stop Venting to the Confidant.
We all have that friend who we are constantly calling to vent everything to—all of our hurts and anger and feelings of frustration. There’s nothing wrong with having someone we trust as a confidant, but when you tell everything to that person instead of telling the person who has ignited the feeling in you and with whom you have the real issues, you are building a wall between that person and yourself. What works for me, is to use that confidant as a platform, to help me soften my high emotions and work towards communicating directly to the person I’m actually upset with.
2. Accept That we are Different.
As unique beings, not everybody feels or expresses themselves the same way we do. This means that we can’t always assume that someone will express their love to us the same way we do them. It might be through physical contact or doing something nice for you or it might be through verbal communication. The point is, the more we pay attention to how others function and what they like, we have a greater understanding we have of how they operate and we’re less likely to take offence.
3. Step Away until you’re Calm.
Anger literally hijacks our brain so when we’re angry we simply aren’t able to think or act clearly and are more inclined to do or say something irrational. Rather than directing your emotion at someone else, take a breather. Process your emotions by allowing yourself to actually feel them. When we let our emotions expand throughout our body they pass through. When we’ve calmed down and our thoughts are no longer being hijacked by our emotions, we can get a clearer view.
4. Listen to the Other Person’s Perspective and Version of Things.
When we listen to the other person’s version of things and allow another perspective aside from our own, we can improve the understanding of the situation. An argument requires at least two people, which means your thoughts and perspective are not the only facts in table to analyze. Allowing the other person to express themselves will make them feel validated and give you an opportunity to empathise with their feelings and perspective.
5. Avoid Focusing on the Cause of the Argument.
As human beings, we tend to focus our attention in the cause of the situation—we want to understand why and how something eventuated. There are many situations in which the cause is irrelevant or no longer matters to how we move forward. Don’t get me wrong, understanding the cause can be a positive resource, but it’s not the only one. I find it useful to ask myself: What helps me right now? What’s the next step needed to come to a solution? What am I feeling and what ignited this? How do I usually react? What’s been helpful in a situation like this before?
6. Say what you prefer
When it comes to moving the situation forward, saying what you like, saying how you would prefer things to be like is more soothing, peaceful, and understandable for the other person as much as it can be for you as well. If we’re always nagging and whinging about the things we don’t like, it’s not only painful for us, it is also making the other person constantly wrong and will likely inflame situations further.
“That’s the beauty of argument, if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.” ~ Christopher Buckley
Author: Carolina Peña Jiménez
Editor: Sarah Kolkka
Images: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography