How can we communicate better? This is one of the most common questions we are asked in our work with couples. Our clients often believe if only they could say it differently then they would be heard. Our answer to this: Being heard is more reflective of your ability to listen than of your ability to speak. Some would say this is why we have two ears and one mouth. Practicing your listening skills may be easier said than done if you have not initially tended to your own inner dialogue. By listening skills we mean tending to your own self-talk regarding your beliefs about yourself and your relationship.
- What are your needs in relationship?
- What do you want in your relationship?
- Do you enjoy your own company?
- What is important to you?
- Do you believe you practice healthy communication?
After getting clear on these answers, your task is to take personal responsibility for expressing your needs and wants rather than expecting your partner to magically know what they are and then somehow meet them. To develop healthy conscious communication in relationships you could follow the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated. This would work if first you followed, Treat others as you treat yourself!
Your Inner Dialogue (aka Self-Talk)
Take a moment to practice your listening skills by eaves dropping on the conversation you are having with yourself about yourself.
- Do you say kind things to yourself or are you self-critical?
- Do you boost yourself up or bring yourself down with your self-talk?
Some of you may be saying, “Oh No, if this is how I can expect others to treat me I am in trouble.” We are saying, yes, to a certain degree how you treat yourself including what you say to yourself about yourself, directly impacts the energy you project about how you deserve to be treated by others. Thus, in order to truly create conscious communication in your relationships with others, start by cleaning up the conversation you are having with yourself about yourself. Make sure your self-talk reflects how you want to be treated by others. Healthy communciation starts with you. Now that you have listened to your inner dialogue you are ready to listen to others.
Coaching and Counseling
Kim Ward Ph.D. and Hilary Stokes Ph.D., founders of Authenticity Associates Coaching and Counseling, have worked as a team for over 15 years. Their mission is to empower people to achieve their authentic potential. They specialize in bringing the synergistic power of mind, body and spirit to individuals and couples. They are passionate about combining the best of holistic and traditional approaches to realize whole body wellness. If you are looking for a holistic approach to improving your life please contact Hilary Stokes Ph.D. & Kimberly Ward Ph.D. at Authenticity Associates.
Written by Hilary Stokes Ph.D. & Kim Ward Ph.D.