Do you find it difficult to communicate effectively in your relationships, whether it’s with your partners, friends or your work colleagues?
Do you often get caught into misunderstandings that create unnecessary tensions?
Do you keep reproducing the same patterns over and over again in relationships without knowing how to change?
Are you longing to experience connexion, intimacy, trust and love with someone?
A while ago, I did a talk on relationships and how we project ourselves, our past and our wounds in our current interactions with people we care about. We explored what creates conflicts and misunderstandings and what part we play in it. And today I’d like to discuss with you how we can begin to change those stubborn patterns and learn better ways to be and to communicate with those we love.
The first step is to develop awareness about how we feel, how we respond and react to our friends, colleagues and partners. I personally use mindfulness meditation to learn to recognise what emotions I’m experiencing, where they come from and what they mean. When we project our past experiences and buttons into our current relatinships, we often use a few different thinking mistakes – commonly called thinking distortions in CBT and NLP, such as catastrophizing – when we anticipate the worst case scenario ; mind reading – when we assume we know what’s going on for the other person ; or generalising – when we generalise one event to make it a rule: “it’s always like this”, or “things are never happening the way I want to” 🙂
It is crucial to learn to identify what in our thoughts create those emotions that lead to conflicts. Using meditation, CBT or NLP can then help you to stop those distortions and create new thinking habits that will help your communication and your general well-being on a daily basis.
Another very important step is to take responsibility: it’s often a default position in any conflicting situation to blame other people, yet we always have a part to play. I call it the 50/50 rules. Learning to identify in any given situation your responsibility in it, even if it’s not 50% will help you reclaim your projections and shift your mindset from a defensive and aggressive stance to a more connected, understanding and open-minded one. That will allow you to be able to listen to the other person’s perspective in a very different way and give you the availability to start solving the issue.
If you’re convinced it’s the other person’s fault, just take a minute to swap roles. How would you feel if your partner or friend or even boss blamed the issue on you and refused to listen to your side of the story? If they didn’t take responsibility and accused you of being in the wrong without taking a look at themselves, would you be willing to make compromise and try to question yourself? or would you stand by your position in an even more stubborn way? What do you think is the most useful approach to solving conflicts? 🙂
And finally, one of the best way to start disarming conflicts, is to state how you feel, what’s true for you. Without blame, without trying to find what caused that feeling, simply genuinely and authentically saying “I feel this way right now”. And with the help of your partner, in a respectful and loving way, start exploring together what caused that feeling.
Relationships are not easy. They require work, compromise, understanding and patience. But we are rarely told how to get those skills and I believe it’s time we educate ourselves and our children on how to DO relationships. Perhaps that will improve the divorce rates in the future ; perhaps it will increase the average relationship longevity. It might even lead to friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the work place 🙂
What about you? Have you built a deep intimate connexion with your close ones? If so, what are your secrets and tips? Feel free to share with us, as I truly believe we can all benefit from each other’s experience and creativity to make the best of our relationships 🙂
If you’re interested in doing some deeper work on learning relationships and communication skills, please do come along my next workshop on the subject. You can find more information here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/projected-self-and-codependency-workshop-tickets-14748247405.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!