Communication

Q Community Issues

This week I am presenting to you more issues that those in the LGBTQ+ community are confronted with routinely. I'd like to continue with microaggressions directed towards those in the Q community. All too many times micro-assaults are swept under the rug and never addressed. These include explicit homophobic derogation characterized primarily by a verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim. This is usually through the use of name- calling, avoidant behavior or purposeful discriminatory actions. Microinsults is another in which unconscious and unintentional like subtle glares of disgust or shock is displayed when those in the Q community show public displays of affection.

When statements that exclude, negate or nullify LGBTQ+ experiences like a heterosexual adamantly denying they are homophobic after a person in the Q community confronts them about a bias statement is verbalized this screams micro-invalidation. Other blatant actions that are often displayed include various phobias. When fear, hatred and disgust towards people who have feelings of love and sexual attraction for members of the same gender or are not aligned with their gender identity presents this is the time to do some self assessing.

Ask yourself why does this fear, hatred or disgust present. Predjudice based on personal belief that LGBTQ+ are immoral, sick, sinful or inferior to heterosexuals marks a person as homophobic, biphobic and/ or transphobic. Ask yourself, do you apply to any of these phobias? These are problematic issues that persist and could be eliminated with all human beings learning and developing an understanding about other cultures outside of one's own.

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Dismissing versus Supporting

In the process of supporting our loved ones, it is easy to move from being supportive to being dismissive without realizing it. Maybe you have run out of things to say that may be supportive and do not know how else to help. 

Being dismissive minimizes the value of what your loved one has said and felt. But, it does not always come from a place of not caring. It can look as simple as what we think is supportive; “It will all be fine...You worry too much; take a break...That person is not worth your time...You didn’t think that would be helpful before...” These things can tell your loved one that their fears, concerns, and hurt are unnecessary but simply confuse the fact that those feelings already exist. 

Support can be offered in many ways. Most often, you will find that your loved ones simply need to feel heard. You may not have to say anything! Think about the times when you have truly felt heard. How can you pass that feeling along?

Make eye contact

Paraphrase what they've said

Ask for clarification if you’ve misunderstood

Simply gestures, like a nod, let them know you’re still listening

Empathy and validation let others know that their feelings and thoughts are acceptable and you can appreciate why they feel that way, even if you may feel differently about the same situation.

Other times, your presence may be more than enough. We have this sense of urgency to fill the voice when there is uncomfortable silence. But when a loved one is hurting, they may just need that silence to process their thoughts and feelings, with your supportive presence. 

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Thank You

Often times, we are rather hard on ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. We are constantly expecting and demanding more and becoming frustrated easily. 

 

But what if, we took a few moments each day to appreciate all that those bodies and minds have done for us? Notice that pesky anxiety or unwanted memory of a traumatic event? Although the symptoms that follow may prove challenging, your mind is working to protect you.

 

Your memory stores information for you, some of which you may not even recall. When a familiar sensation, smell, sound, etc. presents itself, it triggers a thought process, which is quickly followed by an emotional process. This emotional process can then lead into moments of anxiety, stress, doubt, etc. 

 

Although you may in fact be safe, that smell may connect you to a memory in which that smell was once unsafe. In order to protect you, your memory is reminding you that smell has previously meant danger.

 

Instead of harboring frustration towards your mind and body for the symptoms that follow, allow a moment to appreciate its intent. You may just notice your symptoms weaken and anticipatory frustration subside.

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Good Communication Starts with 5 Simple Things

Do you want to have better communication with the people in your life? The ability to communicate is an essential skill in today's world. Good communication is key to all relationships and it starts with 5 simple things:

 

1.  Listen to learn; not to judge 

Avoid criticism, name calling and diagnosing.

2.  Pay attention to the person speaking

Look at the person speaking and put away electronic devices.  

3.  Use language relevant to the person you are speaking to

Avoid technical terms that are not relevant to the person

4.  Only offer advice when asked

Some people would like to come to a solution on their own.

5. Address the concerns of the speaker

Take the person's concerns into account.

 

Another important aspect of good communication is body language. Facial expressions, gestures and posture speak volumes. Nonverbal cues can be just as important as verbal expression. If you want better communication, go ahead and try these 5 simple things!

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Recognizing and Negotiating Conflict

Problems and conflict are part of life - they are natural and inevitable. Conflict does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. When conflict occurs, the relationship may be weakened or strengthened.Not being able to recognize and address conflict can leave you feeling angry, upset, misunderstood or helpless. However, if the conflict is handled well, it can be productive - allowing both people to feel respected and validated. 

 

Healthy ways to recognize and negotiate conflict

  • Conflict must be viewed as a problem that can be solved mutually - finding a solution that is acceptable to both. 

  • Each person must participate actively in the resolution and make an effort and commitment to find answers which are as fair as possible.

  • Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. 

  • Ues effective communication techniques- Use "I" statements, use empathy, and practice active listening

  • Focus on the situation rather than the person- don't attack

  • Ask questions using exploration rather than domination- Try asking open-ended question that provokes communication 

  • Be respectful

  • Brainstorm possible solutions together

 

Conflict is hard, but these are healthy ways to communicate and negotiate conflict. Remember conflict happens and it can be productive if handled with care.

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A Reminder About Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the topic of love is in the air. Heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate and cards with “Love” scrolled across the front are everywhere. We’re reminded to tell that special someone in our life just how we feel about them and to spread Valentine’s to all our loved ones.

 

I love the idea of taking time to be intentional with letting those around know exactly how we feel and to take time to verbalize our gratitudes and appreciations of them. However; at times, I think we forget that self-love is just as important as the love we show to those around us. Sometimes, it’s easier to focus on saying and doing for others. When is the last time you told yourself that you loved you? Or that you are grateful for and appreciate something in yourself? It can be difficult to both give and receive love from others when we aren’t loving our own self well. 

 

This Valentine’s Day season, make sure you set aside some time to think about and take action towards loving yourself well. Start with just one committed action. What is one thing you could do today to love yourself? It may be a bubble bath, allowing yourself some time to read, or going to bed early for the first time in days. Whatever it is, include in that time some loving self-talk. Let yourself know some things you’re grateful for, and remind yourself that you deserve to be loved!

 

What’s your act of self-love going to be? What are you grateful of in yourself right this moment?

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Boundaries with Family

Boundaries are rules and limits that you present in your interactions with others. They can be physical, mental, psychological and spiritual. Setting boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and are good mental health practice. It can, however, often be difficult to set boundaries with the people whom we are the closest. Setting and sustaining boundaries with family is a skill that needs practice.  

 

Here are a few helpful ideas on how to set boundaries with family:

 

  • Practice self-awareness- Understand yourself and your needs. Remember your needs and feelings are important. Setting boundaries happens when you understand your feelings and honor them.  

  • Name your limits- You aren't able to set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. So identify your limits. Ask yourself- What behaviors will I not tolerate? What kind of relationship do I want with my family?

  • Be firm, but kind- Setting boundaries doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be callous.When you set a boundary make sure you are clear. 

  • Keep realistic expectations- Be realistic with yourself about what boundaries you want to keep. Follow through with boundaries can be difficult, but keep at it and remind others of the boundaries you set.

  • Be direct and assertive- Don't drop hints or be passive aggressive about your boundaries. Being clear about what is okay and what is not okay is the only way you can make sure others understand you.

  • Take care of yourself and your needs- Practice self-care. Go for walks, read, or spend time alone. Make yourself a priority. 

Start small- Boundaries takes practice. Start with a small boundary and work your way up to more difficult boundaries.

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The Dream Team Communication Playbook

Any team sport athlete can tell you that effective communication is vital to the success of a any offense or defense. Team players understand their own role and responsibilities but also need to be able to communicate when they need help, anticipate potential issues, or point out teammates’ blind spots. This is all helpful and productive in the context of shared goals and assuming positive intent. If there is division, selfish motives, or unhealthy players, the team likely will lose. 

 

Communication is defined as “the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.” Each couple has to come up with their own mutually understood signs, symbols and rules. This applies in conflict situations as well as sharing information and feelings. Creating and practicing your own healthy communication “playbook” with your partner can be highly useful for those game time situations that will catch you off guard.As you begin, here are a few helpful pointers: 

 

  • Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

  • Explain and describe versus accuse

  • Be in tuned to your own needs remembering to H.A.L.Tif necessary

  • Compromise so both parties “win” 

  • Be open to learning from each other and about each other

  • Practice “quick, slow, slow” - Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry

  • Know both you and your partner’s verbal and nonverbal triggers

  • Maintain even TVC when talking - tone, volume, and cadence

  • Validate, validate, validate!

  • Ask for clarification, don’t assume

  • Play to your strengths 

 

At the end of the day, remember to affirm good efforts and small victories. Championships are never won in just one game, but through a compilation of daily efforts, practice, re-evaluation, and improving where weakest. 

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Five Elements Of An Apology

Five Elements Of An Apology

Many times we feel that we have fully apologized to another person about how we have offended or wronged them. But the offended person may want to hear more than just the two words “I’m sorry.” They may have heard that apology several times from the same person and been betrayed or disappointed again by the same actions or words. So the simple “I’m sorry” can seem empty and meaningless. Use these five elements of a sincere apology and then put these elements into action to win a person’s trust back.

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Conflict and Positive Intent

One of the concepts from the business world that transfers well to struggling couples is assuming positive intent. Many times couples come in experiencing gridlock in communications and conflict resolution. They are quick to become defensive and assume their partner is always trying to “win or be right.” After weeks, months or years of functioning this way, the environment becomes very hostile and it can be hard to remember the team commitment once made at the alter. This concept is not a novel one and simply implores giving others the benefit of the doubt. This combined with a little empathy can go a long way. 

The first step in assuming positive intent is to create self-awareness around what it is your partner is doing or saying that is bothersome. Identify the trigger and acknowledge your reactive emotion. Then, step back, and ask yourself, “Is that in my partner’s nature to try to frustrate me?” Then allow yourself to step in their shoes for a moment and see the situation from their perspective. More often than not your partner’s behavior is not an attack on you or your relationship. It is simply self-preservation either emotionally, mentally or physically. Then remind yourself that at their best, your partner has your back and would never intentionally harm you. Overall, extend grace to your partner, acknowledge how they feel, and work towards fostering “we is more important than you or me” in your relationship.

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