Following a talk I’ve recently given at Animas London Lecture and requests from my followers who missed it, I’ve decided to write a series of blogs on that fascinating topic that is subjective communication in relationships.
I’ve always been fascinated by relationships. I find the psychology of the human mind captivating and it’s quite intriguing how it’s at play within our relationships. When I’ve observed the dynamics and patterns in my own relationships as well as my client’s, I came to one conclusion: most of the time we have terrible relationship skills.
A lot of our academic education at school is focused on data: we accumulate an incredible amount of knowledge regarding science, history, geography etc. that we forget almost instantaneously unless we go into further studies at college. Unless we choose psychology as our studying focus, there is no place we are taught communication and relationship skills.
Relationship is actually what we call in NLP a nominalisation. It is an action that has been transformed into a noun, hence making it more permanent and solid. If we go back to the original action, in this case ‘to relate’, it makes it much easier to play around with the concept and learn some effective ways to improve it.
Our environment, i.e our home and family, is another place where we have the opportunity to learn how to relate to other people. If we don’t learn those skills at school, then logically we learn them at home. However, are our parents’ relationships or their communication skills good enough role models? Where would they have learnt their skills if not from their own parents? And is it likely that our grandparents learnt extensive communication skills? What happened before Freud to even put emphasis on human mind and psychology? There is a big gap in where effective and constructive communication skills can be learnt.
So what creates most issues in relationships? We have expectations, different values, and misunderstandings but why do we struggle so much to be understood and understand each other? And one of the answers is in what I call our projected self.
Our projected self is what we bring out in any interaction with people that encompass our beliefs, our values, our expectations and our experience. In any given ambiguous situation, that is a situation that has different potential meanings, we fill in the gaps as to avoid the discomfort that comes with uncertainty. So if you’re expecting a phone call from a friend and that friend fails to ring you, you will be tempted to start generating potential explanations as to the reason why that phone call never came.
We all create different possible scenario, because we all have different values, beliefs and past experience. And what we bring into those stories to make sense of the world around us is what I call our projected self. Have you noticed that we always tend to come up with the same stories? Whether we come to the conclusion that people don’t like us, or that we’re always abandoned by those we love or that we are not good enough to keep our friends, we tend to follow themes in our interpretations. I invite you to think about your own personal themes and in my next post I’ll explore the ways we project ourselves in our communication and how it affects our relationships.