3 Simple Tricks to Help You Communicate More Effectively
Last week, I had a massive blowout with my husband. I was heartbroken. It took us days to recover.
Once we were able to walk away from our hot and heavy crazy-head selves, we began to communicate.
I’d say something
He’d get really defensive.
He’d say something.
I’d get really defensive.
Butting heads against walls. Going nowhere again.
Finally, I tried a new tactic and said, “You know what? The only way we are going to get anywhere is if we stop and take a deep look at ourselves. What do you think your biggest issue is? I think mine is the art of communication.”
He signed, “Communication as well.”
Yep. It always comes down to that. Your partner is not feeling heard. You act defensive. Trust me. This happens more often to us than we’d like. It’s our animalistic defense mechanism.
I can be in the most zen-like, post-yoga mood, and if my husband says something to me that feels like an attack—WHAM!—I attack right back. I can’t help it.
And then what? We may be “listening” to each other, but there is no way we are “hearing” what the other is actually saying.
If we are in attack mode or defending ourselves, we’ll never make any progress. We cannot empathize with the other person who is freaking out too.
So, I put my hand on my husband’s shoulder, and I said, “Let’s try to hear each other. I am going to let you talk for five minutes, and I will not say a word or even respond when you are finished. Then, I would like permission to talk for five minutes without you responding to me. Just listen.”
What an experience. I so wanted to fight my way back at him every time he said a word. And I could tell he wanted to defend himself as well. I could see he was trying to think his way out of our new game.
But it worked. We both realized we were not insulting each other. We were actually projecting our past experiences into present time. And, because of that, we were not able to show up for each other until we got past that.
Finally. We had an invitation to evolve rather than feeling slighted by the other.
What I’ve come to learn is that you can let conflict divide you, or you can take the opportunity to recognize that life is beautiful and rich in its diversity.
Do we really need to prove others wrong, or can we simply love? How do you want to answer this?
When you are in conflict with anyone and you don’t see eye to eye, here are three simple tricks you can use to help you work towards an understanding.
1. HEAR (don’t just listen)
Get out of your own way. Push that ego aside. It is an absolute must that you not only listen but hear and acknowledge the other.
You absolutely do not have to agree with everything the other is saying, but you do have to try to see the world through the other’s eyes.
Trying to escape responsibility when you know deep down there may be truth in the reflection is uncool.
You are definitely not going to agree with everything your partner (or someone else) believes. But instead of being a grumpy, argumentative rump, just agree to disagree.
And remember, while you can totally have a different viewpoint, if you love someone, acceptance is HUGE.
3. BE THE BIGGER PERSON
You can either choose to fight until you’re right or you can find a way to make peace. Sometimes, you have to be the bigger person. It’s not the end of the world; it’s actually the beginning of working toward understanding.
I have just given you three great tricks toward understanding when you don’t see eye to eye. Do you have any special tricks you and your partner employ? I would love to hear from you; please leave your comments below.
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Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
*Featured Image by Brian Digital.