How to master clear, honest, compassionate conversations between you and the people you love!
Frustration is often the first sign that you are not connecting with the person in front of you in a way that feels good or supports you both to be heard and understood..
These are 5 common “mistakes” I come across regularly in relationship dynamics and which can get in the way of actually connecting to your partner, friend, family member, co-work
The good news is that you can do something which will support you to communicate more effectively in every 1 of these cases..
My painful experiences have taught me time and time again, that I am very likely to end up in endless spirals of stress, hurt and frustration when I try to communicate in any of these ways (there are more blocks to be explored..) and that I am much more likely to find a deeper connection to myself and the other person when I do so from a place of clarity, curiosity and openness..
So let's have a look at what these “mistakes”* are + what you can do to support yourself to make more life serving choices!
NOTE: All of these suggestions take some practice to re-integrate. The “mistake” responses above are learnt behaviors and so re-remembering our essence is available to all of us. We just need time, support and practice, to re-wire these neural pathways and create new choices which serve us and our relationships to flourish.
1. Listening in order to respond:
Do you sometimes listen to the other person, and whilst your listening you are already formulating your own response to them? Perhaps you have a reaction, a story, a word of advice, a different perspective etc..??
Sometimes this can get in the way of truly understanding each other and connecting on a deeper level.
We do this for many reasons, perhaps we want to support the other person, to contribute to their well being, to be heard and understood, to be seen for our perspective, to connect or be in a shared reality with one another.. so sometimes our formulated responses do meet these needs, and sometimes they really don't.. do you remember moments feeling frustrated that you or they are not getting to the point, not being clear enough or perhaps that you miss the deeper connection because your changing from topic to topic..?
Slow down your response by taking 3-5 minutes to fully engage with what they are saying, let go of your responses and trust that if they are important to you, you will find them again later. Take a moment to focus on the essence of what the other person is saying, let them take you on a journey to the core of their heart..
When it is your turn to speak, ask for a moment of silent listening to support you to connect before they respond, or tell them that you need a moment to hear yourself express and find clarity, before you can fully take in what they want to say with presence.
2. Self defending:
When your partner or friend seems to be judging, blaming or accusing you, do you find yourself jumping in to defend you own honor? To try and explain yourself so that they actually understand you more clearly?
How often does that actually work? Not a lot right? That's because when people judge, blame or accuse, they are doing so from a place of hurt. What they need in that moment is empathy (and you also need some too!).
There are many steps which can support you to connect in moments like these, but the first step is this:
Recognise that they are in pain, recognise that you may be in pain too. Slow down and see if you can listen to what is important to them, rather than what they are saying about you, you can use my feelings + needs list to help you make a guess. (this takes some real practice - so start by journaling with some past events + get some practice buddies!)
3. Asking for what you don’t want:
Do you ever find yourself frustrated that when you ask your partner to “stop speaking about your ex” or “stop leaving your laundry all over the floor”, then they do something else which is equally annoying, like leaving all the laundry in a pile on the bed instead? So then you think “you never listen / you don’t care / you think I’m your slave..”.. Etc..
When we ask for what we don’t want, we leave ourselves wide open to an enormous amount of possibility for frustration and disappointment. Also our poor partners are very often confused and annoyed with the energy beyond the “don’t” which can often seem like it is lacking in respect or inclusion of them.
Ask for what you want, give clear directions and check if your request is doable for them / if they would enjoy doing that or if they have another idea to support you: “Would you be willing to put the laundry directly into the laundry bin? This would support me to experience a sense of teamwork and help me to relax more around the house? ”
4. Responding when you are triggered:
When you are triggered you are least likely to answer or respond from a place of clarity. You are in Fight Flight Freeze, you have cortisol coursing through your veins, your reptilian brain and amygdala (the survival and emotional centers of the brain) are running the show and therefore you see fire, you run away, you tense up, you shout back.. ALL of which are responses designed by your brain and younger self, to protect you.
This is a whole field we could dive into, and I may make a separate post to give this a lot more space..
The basic thing to understand here is that when you are triggered you are least connected to clarity, logic or reason. If you respond from this place, you will most probably regret it or feel less connected to your partner and / or yourself afterwards.
The key here is self care, self connection and slowing down..
Take a time out, listen to your heart, go for a walk, scream into a pillow, speak to a friend, do some journaling, have a warm bath, cover yourself in blankets, have a shower, do some shaking or dancing. Whatever it is that supports you to regulate your nervous system, will help you to reconnect with the neocortex (logical, thinking part of the brain) and come back to reality before resuming the conversation.
This may seem a little extreme to take time out, but as long as yu tell your partner you are doing this in order to care for the relationship, and tell them WHEN you intend to come back (3 minutes - 3 hours?), this step can be a life saver for your relationship!
Over time you may only need 30 seconds of breathing to bring you back into a more integrated space where connection can flow again.
5. Believing the stories you tell you tell yourself:
Can you remember a moment when you were convinced that someone did something just to spite you, or because they didn't care or because they don’t respect you? Any moment when you believe that you know the truth behind a situation without having the facts or confirmation from the other person?
This is a dangerously easy territory to get lost in.. we all analise and predict situations, we project our fantasies and fears onto one another. We do so because when we do not have the opportunity to find the truth or be in reality, our mind fills the gaps with stories and possibilities.
Why? Because again our brains are just trying to keep us safe. So predicting, anaysing and projecting are all attempts to meet our needs for clarity, understanding, self protection, belonging and much more..
Yet the danger here, is that if you believe wholeheartedly in the stories that you mind creates, you are setting yourself up for expectations and disappointments, pain and frustration, and inevitably: conversations which leave both of you feeling restlessly annoyed, alone and not at all seen, heard or understood..
Check your reality by noticing the perception you have of the other person. Share your imagination with the other person and make sure to check with them if your perception is true? Practice with friends and simple / easy / light perceptions as a game. Moving onto more painful stuff becomes easier with a lot of care, self awareness and practice..
So I wonder, do you resonate with these “mistakes”? Have you found yourself doing any or even all of the above at times? Do you now judge yourself or others for these responses?
If so, my wish is to leave you with a short activity for self connection and compassion towards all us humans who behave in a myriad of ways simply in order to meet our human needs..
When you have reacted in a way you now regret, ask yourself this:
What need was I attempting to meet at that moment?
Can I see the beauty and importance of that need?
What do I imagine i might do differently next time?
Download my free feelings and needs list to support you with the above activities
And if you want to transform these behaviors and feel the embodied difference when you can respond from an empowered, honest and clear place within yourself, book a FREE discovery call with me to see if we are a good fit to work together.