We don't always meet the people we want but who we may need. Meeting someone isn't always for the purpose of happily ever after.
Hello, Hi! Nice to see you.
How are you today? Fine, and you? Doing good!
How was your day? Great, you? Great.
Do you ever get caught in surface level dialog? In our fast-paced world, it's easy to activate "auto-pilot" leading us to enact the same conversation over and over again. We scratch the surface of communication, but do we ever really talk? There is power in asking the right questions. To make conversations meaningful, practice asking open-ended questions -- try intentional listening and responses. When we avoid the "yes or no" and implement open-ended questions, we may learn much more about our partners' experiences and feelings.
Day to day conversations can be purposeful and connecting if we can get creative. Instead of "How's your day?" try asking, "What's the best part of your day today?" or "What are you looking forward to most today?". The book Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas helps the reader learn how to Build Relationships, Win New Buisness, and Influence Others. Below is a list of questions derived from their book that can help foster, connect, deepen, and build relationships through thoughtful conversation.
Try a few of them today!
What has brought you the most fulfillment?
What would you like to do less of?
Who has been an influential role model or mentor to you?
What do you like about your work?
What gets you excited about the future?
Are there areas in your life you could grow?
What are your most important goals right now?
What do you value most?
What is an obstacle in your life currently?
What does happiness mean to you?
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.