Is talking the same as communicating? Is listening the same as hearing? Is being heard the same understanding?
I think we all understand that communicating at the deepest level unearths or awakens a sense of self-awareness and a sense of others very well when it’s done right. At its very core, communicating in relationships is about connecting with another person and using the tried and true methods - verbal, written and physical - to fulfill your partner’s needs
And it is more than just “small talk” or dialing it in.
A desire to communicate and then just doing it is much like fine art or dancing or singing or writing. All of these are skills that require practice, not until perfect, but as close as one can get.
Can communication be negative? Sure. Negative thoughts or unhealthy emotions beget the same in communication. As a matter of fact, that is where negative communication begins… yep, right there in your mind. The words that emanate from your mouth are a direct result of its’ origin. We must be ever mindful of the manner in which we speak to others because the message will get lost in your tone.
We should listen more than we speak… really listen, being careful not to judge what we are hearing. Listen with intent in understanding, not intent of defending. Focus on your friend’s facial expression as they tell a story. Try to listen to your spouse without thinking of what to say next. Communicating well is a clear indication of appreciation and value.
We seek pleasure in our relationships and wish to avoid pain, stress and emotional risks at all costs.
Tony Robbins suggests asking the following questions of our relationships:
How secure is my partner feeling in our relationship?
Does it feel more like a gamble, or is there certainty in the commitment we’ve made to each other?
Is there certainty in our standard of living?
Have you tried being open with your partner about what gives them certainty and makes them feel stable?
Have you talked about what you need to feel certain in your relationship?
Are there enough healthy challenges in your relationship and in the life you share with your partner, that you and your partner can tackle together to ensure that you grow together, too?
How do you demonstrate to your partner, not just tell them, that they are significant to you?
Feeling that human connection and sense of love and adoration are emotions we all wish to feel. We have a strong desire to be wanted and chosen. Knowing that we’re loved can make us feel at our most alive, but absence of love can cause pain like nothing else can. Too often we automatically say “I love you” in order to solve a conflict with our partners, and forget to show love in a real, tangible way that speaks to our partner’s needs.
You should reverse this pattern and consciously show your partner that you love them every day, and by doing that, your connection will deepen.
Remember, real love is about giving, not getting.
I leave you with some profound quotes on communication in relationships:
Roy T. Bennett: “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
Shannon L. Alder: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”
Douglas Adams: “Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.”
Zeno of Citium: “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”
William Shakespeare: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”