Why is communication so tough sometimes?
Because we all just want to be heard. We want our feelings and opinions to be valued regardless of whether it is right or wrong.
My husband and I both have a strong personality. We are both very opinionated, I think that’s one of the things that attracted us to one another. We would have discussions about life and when we both agreed on something, our conversations flourished. That’s why when we got together we thought we got the whole communication thing down. It is probably because in the beginning of most relationships there tends to be more of an agreeance towards everything as we are blinded by their flaws and rejoice in the fact that we have so much in common. However, there is no way we can see eye-to-eye in everything and when we don’t our conversations can get exhausting which then leads to a very frustrating argument.
During those arguments, what frustrates me the most is that he doesn’t understand ME, he’s not listening to ME and how do I get MY point across? As you can tell by now, I’m not even really listening to what he’s saying because all I’m thinking about is ME and how I feel and to be honest he’s probably thinking the same way. And this is how the arguing cycle continues. It will either end in us not having resolved anything or one completely giving in to the other so that we can move on from the issue. Or in some cases, me hiding in the bathroom because I just can’t keep arguing over the same thing.
How do you get the other person to hear you and understand you?
By responding with empathy. We cannot control the behaviour of others but we can only control our own. We can control how we respond to the situation and how we choose to communicate. Responding with empathy sucks…especially when you have an ego that wants to be right and an ego that gets defensive about everything. Responding with empathy will not only change your communication for the better but also deepen your connection as a couple. So what does responding with empathy actually mean? It means…
– Stop making it all about you. Yes, you may have been hurt by what he/she said. Yes, you may have been feeling neglected. Those feelings are all valid but let’s not discount your partners feelings. How are they feeling? What are the root of their feelings? Is there maybe something else that’s bothering them that they haven’t shared with you?
– When you stop making it all about you, it gives you the chance to actually listen to what your partner is saying.Do you ever catch yourself formulating your response before your partner is done talking? Next time you catch yourself doing that, it’s a great reminder to come back to the present and focus on what your partner is saying. Be in the moment with him/her and really listen to what they are trying to tell you. There is no judgement here but an open mind and an open heart.
– Being open to your partner allows for a more loving approach to communicating. Validating their feelings makes them feel heard and understood. This allows their defences to come down and they will also be more likely to be open to you and your feelings so that you can now be heard too.
Responding with empathy can bring healing in the relationship. Whether they be big arguments or petty arguments, responding with empathy encourages both partners not be afraid to tell each other how they feel because they know they won’t be judged. They know they are in a safe place because it is not about being right or wrong, it is about being valued and understood. There is clarity in the conversation because both partners are able to express how they feel which will ultimately resolve the issue.
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