When we first come into this world the only way to express our needs is through cries. As we learn the language of our caregivers, we learn to use words to express ourselves and what we need. “I want ____” is a popular sentence among toddlers; throwing a fit when they don’t get what they want is also common.
As we mature we tend to expect those close to us to know what we want or need, just like the caregivers, but is that effective? Just because we are adults doesn’t mean that we can effectively express ourselves. If we do not effectively communicate what we need and how we feel, how can anybody else know? People in our lives cannot read our minds and cannot fulfill an unmet need that we cannot express.
What does it take to communicate effectively?
Spend time with yourself to UNDERSTAND YOUr thoughts, feelings, and needs. If you don’t know what you need, you cannot properly ask for it.
PLAN FOR TIME TO TALK; a time when you are both alert and focused on each other without interruptions.
Take responsibility for your own inner world by USING "I" STATEMENTS. For example: "I am feeling frustrated because I had a bad day. I need a hug” instead of “you don’t hug me anymore; you just ignore me."
Ask your partner to communicate back to you what you just expressed in order to ascertain that they heard you correctly: “WHAT DID YOU HEAR?” Take the statement from above, one way to interpret it is “you are grouchy.” Another understanding would be “you want me to hug you.”
Ask for FEEDBACK. Inquire about the listener's feelings and thoughts about what you just said. Listen without judgement. This is the time to try to understand the other person. Ask questions to make sure you understand.
The main role of communicating is to connect. In order to connect we need to feel understood and valued. Effective communication takes place when your thoughts, feelings and needs are understood by the person you are talking with. It is not about having the other person agree with you, but for the other person to understand your point of view.
I look forward to helping you improve your relationships. Call me today to schedule an appointment.