Sulking in Relationships

Sulking: Failing to Explain Ourselves 

So often in romantic relationships, we can get into trouble with one another by expecting our romantic partner to read our minds. In the early part of getting to know each other this tactic may work much to our surprise as we are discovering all of the things we have in common.

Unfortunately, as the following video on sulking demonstrates, we often resort to getting quiet and withdrawing when our partner fails to read our mind and “guess” what is bothering us.

Perhaps as so aptly demonstrated in the video we ought to not make our loved ones work so hard to try and guess what is bothering us. 

Why don’t we just TELL them what is bothering us?

Hmmm… now that might be too easy. 

Wouldn’t that require us to forego a lot of attention and drama, and making them suffer for not quickly guessing what it is that is bothering us?

Yes, it would.

And perhaps when we told them what is bothering us, then perhaps we can move towards resolving it and feeling close again.

It may be good for us to remember that we are fortunate that our partners love and care for us, and support us. Do we really want to add the extra burden of having them need to read our minds as well?

Try and remember this the next time you are tempted to withdraw and sulk away from your partner. Tell them and trust that they will want to work things out with you. If they don’t, then that is another matter altogether.

Vulnerability Makes The Difference!

Vulnerability

Vulnerability Is Key

Quite often in our lives, we may find ourselves stuck, whether it be in our romantic life, at work / business, or in life in general, and yet not realize that a solution is at hand: Vulnerability.

But it may not be what we are looking for, so we discard it.

We may want something that will make us more:

  • knowledgeable
  • powerful
  • looked up to / respected
  • on top of things
  • in control

What Lies Hidden

One surprising strategy or technique that we rarely resort to, is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

And it is not so much a “strategy” or a “technique”, as it is a deepening / a movement towards greater authenticity.

Or as Brene Brown would say in her book Rising Strong:

People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.

It takes great courage to allow oneself to be vulnerable in a moment of not-knowing or uncertainty.  I can’t help but wonder how many moments and powerful breakthroughs are lost, because of our inability to stay in a place of not-knowing, and to collectively express our vulnerability.

But if it is “certainty” that we seek, perhaps we are looking in the wrong place.

As the Buddhists are fond of saying:

The only thing that is permanent is impermanence.

Openness And Vulnerability Guide The Way

Perhaps it is in our very admitting of “not-knowing”, that we finally find a touchstone that is solid, that will help us guide the way?

Few of us consider it in our day to day lives, but the history of our world and species is populated by theories and systems that have become outdated, and have been replaced by brand new paradigms and ways of seeing and explaining the world.

And yet, nearly every day we are inundated by new theories or books that are definitely THE last word on the subject.

Until the next last word on the subject that is.

But what never ceases to amaze me is how easily we are seduced into believing: Yes! This is it! This pulls it all together and makes sense of everything!

Perhaps it is just me. But I think not, as there was a time that there were a lot of “Flat Earthers” out there, and psychoanalysts, and behaviorists, and laissez-faire economists, that is until the great bailout of 2008. Not to worry though, they are still out there preaching how “efficient” the invisible hand of the market is.

Just remember that though, the next time they come cap in hand, looking for billions if not trillions in government “stimulus”.

Vulnerability Just May Be The Thing

Perhaps we don’t know how it all works all the time?

Perhaps?  Maybe “humility” is what this post ought to be about?

The next time you are looking for some certainty in this uncertain world, perhaps the idea might be to jot down your assumptions and to present them as such for all to see, and then to invite comment and participation and come together in resolving a common problem.

But… that may mean letting go of the credit for “solving” the big problem. But that may be a much more comfortable and more powerful place in the long run, than going out on a limb and pretending that we “know”.

Vulnerability In Relationships

This is where “vulnerability” shines. In relationships vulnerability becomes a great source of courage and a strong connection and intimacy builder.

The next time your partner or someone you are speaking with says something that seems a bit “out there” or different from what you are expecting, take a moment to be open, to consider what they are saying. Resist that knee-jerk reaction to make a funny face, or to say “what?”

And what you will get… is that you just might find yourself entering new and uncharted territory, and entering a place with your partner that you have never visited before because you were searching for “certainty”.

Vulnerability tends to beget more vulnerability and openness.

I can almost assure you, but I don’t know for sure… that vulnerability is the place of connection.

Try it. You may be surprised at the results you get.

Has pretending to be super-human gotten us that far? Has it been a place of comfort and rest?

  • Show up
  • Be real
  • Be vulnerable
  • Connect

And watch things happen….

 

If you think that you would like some help in becoming more open and vulnerable in your life, I think that I may be able to help you.  :)

Blame: Relationship Killer!

Blame

Blame: Love Goes Astray

Arguably one of the most destructive forces in a relationship is BLAME.

The problem with blame is that it projects negative energy and intent at our loved one.

Blame rarely seeks to understand or empathize or reach out in compassion.

It is most likened to this familiar phrase:

The best defense is a good offense!

Why Do We Blame Then?

There can be many reasons for why we blame.

Some of them probably originate in our earlier years, when we were probably made to pay a high price for telling the truth by our parents.

You stepped forward and answered a question honestly when asked, and the result may have been that you were grounded for 2 weeks!

The lesson most of us learn from that is: there is a price to be paid for telling the truth.

That is highly unfortunate when children grow up learning that it is unsafe to tell the truth. Perhaps we as adults can make it safer for children to tell the truth, and make these occasions more about opportunities to learn, and less about being punished?

Lack of Responsibility

A failure or an inability to look within at our possible role in the event or outcome.

A strong fear that we may be accused of something, and be unwilling or unable to be strong enough to deal with the scrutiny that it may involve, may also lead us to blame others, if only to redirect attention away from ourselves.

A basic not owning up to our role in things.

Not owning up to our responsibilities

The Net Effect Of Blame

Here are some possible results of using blame in our communication and conflict resolution strategies:

  • what good energy may be present becomes tainted
  • people may lose respect for us
  • they may not count on us in the future
  • we may lose out on opportunities because we are deemed unreliable
  • we may initiate conflict with others by casting blame upon them
  • and worse, people may start to avoid us

In summary, the short-term focus of using blame as a way out of a difficult position may prove helpful in the short run, but in the long run the possible damage to our reputation and relationships may be incalculable!

We may be way ahead over the long haul by owning up to our actions and possible mistakes. By adopting a more lenient style with ourselves, we may also come to do so with others, and also end up fostering a more forgiving learning culture around ourselves.

Just as an aside, I remember some time ago reading about the differences in worker suggestion rates amongst American and Japanese workers. I was startled and yet not quite surprised that the average American worker submitted on average 2 suggestions per year, while the typical Japanese worker submitted in excess of 65 suggestions!

We know what has happened to the American automobile industry over the last few decades. When faced with competition from overseas manufacturers, did they tackle them head on and own up to the poor quality of their product, or “blame” the foreign manufacturers for competing unfairly and imposing tariffs?

I think we know how that one worked out. In the end, consumers voted with their dollars and purchased more reliable, higher quality import cars.

So in the end, we can decide to “blame”, and we can probably decide to keep on blaming until the cows come home, or perhaps we can listen to others in our life with open ears and open minds, and see whether we do share in some sort of accountability for what we have done.

The choice as always is up to us!

Note: If you would like to read up more on how to “stop blaming” in your relationship. Here is a book that I would highly recommend. It is a very helpful and fun read Stop Blaming Start Loving

 

 

Best Way To Avoid Having An Argument

 

Use “I” Instead Of “You”

 But if you insist on still using “You”… This can be a problem…  Why you might ask?

Well for starters, feel what it is like when someone starts off a sentence with the word “You”.

You forgot to take out the garbage.

Do we not feel somewhat mildly under attack and off balance, and possibly feel an urge to defend ourselves?

I was busy…. I’ll do it later…. Can’t you give me credit for the things that I do do?

Generally when someone starts a conversation with us by starting off with the word “you”, I think that most of us tend to get our guard up.

This tends to lead to a more defensive and less responsive atmosphere in the person receiving our message. They are likely to feel ready to defend themselves and not feel safe.

What Else Can We Do?

Do Something Different!

If we want different results, perhaps it might be best if “we” tried or did something different!

How often do we feel frustrated because we are not getting the desired results from our partner, when all along we are continuing to do the exact same thing over and over again?

Get Their Attention First: Is It A Good Time?

Next time you have something to say to your partner or somebody important in your life, try to first get their attention.

See if it is a good time to talk to them.

Most of us get this when considering asking our boss for a raise!

If the boss seems preoccupied or in a bad mood, we generally decide to forego our “asking for a raise” discussion.

But a lot of times, not so well with our partner. We often don’t see if it is a good time, or if they are in a good space to hear us. And then we launch obliviously into our “pressing” issue and wonder why we are not well received.

Starting With “I”

Now that we have their attention (ie: they are not in the middle of their favourite show, dyeing their hair, pulling apart the transmission, performing open heart surgery)

This is a good time to start.

Try starting your sentence off with an “I” instead of a “you”.

Your partner, or the person you are communicating with, will hopefully get the feeling that it is something that you are sharing with them that comes from within you.

Examples of how to start might be as follows:

  • I feel
  • I think
  • I would like to
  • I am concerned about
  • I need to talk to you about something that is bothering me
  • I am really upset about

Each of these examples are providing “information” about how we are feeling, thinking, responding, reacting to a certain situation.

The important point is that it is:

Coming from within us, and it is something we wish to share with someone. It is not the universal truth of the matter. It is our opinion, our perspective that we are needing to share with this person and would like to discuss it with them.

What To Hope For

A possible good result here, might be that the person you are speaking with:

  • listens to you
  • they are open and receptive
  • non-defensive
  • perceive that it is your opinion that you are sharing
  • they realize that you are needing to share this with them and it is important to you
  • they want to cooperate with you and do what they can to try and help you

What you might get out of the discussion:

  • you may feel heard
  • you may feel respected
  • that what you have to say is important to the other person
  • you may feel valued or cherished (romantic relationship)
  • you may feel relieved as the other person listens and offers their help and support
  • you may feel an enhanced sense of connection and bond with this person
  • and you may find yourself wanting to listen and help them out when they are having difficulties
  • AND you may feel less stressed, frustrated and quite possibly a sense of happiness and peace

OR

We can continue to do the same things (ie: use “you”), feel frustrated, stressed, aggravated, at our wits end, and continue to wonder why our partner, or the people around us, never respond to us the way we would like them to!

The question is:

Is What You Are Doing Now, Giving You The Results You Want?

The more important question might be:

Who Do We Think Is More Likely To Change First?

And Who Do We Have Power Over?

Us or Them?

I wish you good luck, but most of all, I wish you different, better and improved results, for your deciding to take a chance and trying something different!

Hope that you find these communication tips helpful to you.

Go out and “road test” them, and leave me a comment on my website. I’d love to hear how they worked for you, and also like to hear any suggestions that you may have.

Please feel free to pass along this article if you feel it was helpful. Good communication is something that I think can help anyone. Why not share the “secrets” to your new found success!

If you are having difficulty after trying out some of these techniques, or feel that you would like some one on one guidance, please feel free to email me at Ron@Ronlafleurcounsellingservices.com, or you can call me at 250-618-9550 to set up an appointment.

Good luck with your communication!

Ron Lafleur RCC

@ 2016 www.ronlafleurcounsellingservices.com

Cooperation In Relationships

Cooperation

The Importance Of Cooperation

Most of us get into relationships because we believe that it will lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

For a lot of us, this is true.

For a lot of us, this is also true, but it seems to come at the cost of a LOT of struggle and sometimes strife.

There must be a better way???

What Is It Like When Things Are Going Well?

Well for one, both partners seem happy.

There seems to be a lot less arguing, and more getting along.

And more getting along, if we examine what is going at a closer level, probably involves a lot more COOPERATION with each other.

There is a reason for such sayings as:

You scratch my back, I scratch yours!

If you think about it, it is a pretty blunt and highly unromantic way of looking at relationships, but it hints at an undeniable element of MUTUALITY.

That there is something in the relationship, in relating together, that will benefit both people involved.

In essence, in our relationships, hopefully what we are creating are these MUTUAL COOPERATION GROUPS. And if we can turn those into consistent MUTUAL ADMIRATION GROUPS, then we have the makings of something special and spectacular, that almost anyone would want to be involved in.

So What’s The Problem?

Why can’t we consistently cooperate, let alone admire each other for the long duration of a romantic relationship?

There are probably a lot of reasons. I’d like to suggest some of them here:

  • lack of respect for one another (Major relationship killer!)
  • lack of empathy and concern for other
  • inability to let go of our agenda and listen to the other
  • having to have things OUR way (Big one here!)
  • lack of a long term vision for the couple
  • too much stress taking away from the quality of the relationship
  • losing sight of the importance of the relationship in our lives
  • lack of conflict resolution skills

These and possibly several other problem areas can contribute to and erode the level of COOPERATION in your relationships, be they romantic, work, friendship or family.

What can help turn things around might be:

  • a willingness to cooperate
  • to see things from our partner’s perspective
  • let go of our own agenda
  • listening! really truly listening
  • a feeling of being in it together
  • wanting to help our partner achieve their dreams and resolve their problems
  • and in turn feeling like our partner has our best interests at heart as well

The benefits of being in a successful long term relationship are many, including enhanced health and well-being, and a greater enjoyment of life.

But getting to that place can be a challenge.

If you are needing help in getting back to that place of COOPERATION in your relationships, I may be able to help you get back to a life that is not just about getting by from day to day, but excelling and truly finding your happy place!

I offer services in PERSON, as well as over the PHONE, and SKYPE for your convenience worldwide.

 

 

Communication Tip # 3: Being Interested!

Communication Enhancer: Be Authentically InterestedCommunication

One sure way to improve communication, and to ensure the right amount of energy, is to actually be authentically interested in what the other person has to say.

This may sound logical, or even unnecessary to say, but in a world where we routinely greet each other by asking?

Hello, how are you?

And we don’t usually mean it, or wait around for the other person to genuinely answer.

Actually being interested in, and demonstrated an interest in our conversation partner, may make a huge difference in enhancing the quality and satisfaction we get from our communication.

The Power of Story Revisited

In one of my earlier posts, please see the power of story here, I talked about the importance we give to others by listening to their stories. As well as the importance and respect they show us by listening to our stories.

Why Do We Tune Out?

Perhaps we tune out because:

  • We are only really interested in getting our point across
  • We are being inauthentic and pretending to listen
  • Poor attention span
  • We are multi-tasking (another version of this is “parallel processing”, the reason why computers can parallel process is because they have more than one processor!)
  • Something is more important to us than listening to the person that we are supposed to be listening to (insert cell phones, TV, video games, movies etc.. here)
  • We are being rude and disrespectful. Yes, we must allow for this one.

What Would Happen If We Were More Authentic?

Imagine if we were actually more authentic, and more present in our communication with people!

Now there’s a thought!

Imagine what would happen:

  • We might pay more attention
  • Our communication and level of interaction might go way up
  • We might follow the train of conversation better, and people might follow what we are saying more as well
  • Our level of satisfaction and fulfillment might go up
  • We might find ourselves reaching out and communicating more with each other
  • We might actually feel less lonely, and less in need of constant stimulation, and so called social media to replace authentic connection
  • We might even be able to excuse ourselves when we weren’t interested, or didn’t have the time to really listen carefully. And people might actually be more accepting of it because they sensed our true sincerity.

One Of The Best Things We Can Do For Someone

Is to give them the gift of our time!

In a world that is nearly obsessed with speed, efficiency and money, it is difficult to estimate the true healing potential of giving someone our undivided attention.

True communication begins with being present! As they say, 50% of success is just “showing up”. But let’s share the gift with body, mind, AND soul.

Giving one’s time and interest to someone, can truly show that one cares. Especially now, as we draw near to this holiday season.

So many people are lonely out there. Just stopping for a moment and listening, or even sharing a genuine “hello” and a smile can make all the difference in someone’s day, or even in ours!

When someone asks you how you are doing? Surprise them, stop, and very succinctly let them know! We don’t have to tell them our life story. But when you are done, return the favour, and ask THEM how THEY are doing!

As we lead up to this holiday season… hopefully we can all “show up”, be real, be authentic, and just enjoy the time, and slow down a little together.

Namaste

Note: For more in my continuing series on communication, please click here!

The Power Of Story

The Power of Story

How Story Shapes Our Lives:

Story, has this powerful and often unseen impact on our lives, every single day.  The impact is so significant, and so ever-present, that we don’t even realize that it is with us, there every day to guide our life.

Story has such a vast impact upon our lives, in the sense that it provides the context, the background, and often times the meaning that guides us.

I would go so far as to say that the impact of “story” and “stories” upon our life is equivalent to the impact and importance of water to a fish!

Surely You Are Exaggerating?

I would like to think that I am, however, let me give you some examples of “stories” that run through our minds each and every day.

Just a brief warning before I continue, what follows is not meant to be inflammatory, or meant in disrespect to any group, religion, or system.

  • When we are born, some of us are taken by our parents into the story of religion. Religion is nothing less than the story of how ALL things work and interact in the Universe. It is a VERY powerful story.
  • Some, if not most of us in the West are taken into the story of Capitalism. It is a story that values capital and the pursuit of capital above all else. The story would have us believe, that the best way for the story to end, is for our side to accumulate as much capital as possible as quickly as possible. The story does not allow for at who’s expense the capital is acquired, or at what expense the capital is acquired. Often the losers in this story are those in less developed parts of the world. And sadly, the environment often comes out last in this story as well. The story assumes that there are endless resources and that the environment can be used and polluted to pursue unrestricted gain of capital. This story is largely a falsehood that one tells oneself, thinking that if one can only have enough “capital”, then somehow one can remove themselves from the fray. Players at this story often find that it is not possible to escape the fray. That the fray always seems to find them, and that the environment often has a nasty way of throwing curve balls back at those who believe in this story.
  • Self-sacrifice This is a truly sad story, because the participants in this story tend to believe in scarcity. Basically the notion that there is not enough to go around, and that in order for others to be well and happy, that they must sacrifice themselves or their own happiness.
  • Greed Basically the opposite of the self-sacrificing story. Those involved in this story, also believe that there isn’t enough to go around, but they seek to keep it all for themselves. They do come out and flaunt how much they have been able to acquire for the sake of hoping to trigger envy in those that have less, or who are also buying into the greed story but at a much lower level of success. Also, please see Capitalism.
  • Communism This is the story that we are all equal, and that we should all share equally in the fruits of our labours. This story has been played out several times, particularly in certain Eastern countries in the world. The results so far seem to indicate that this story seems to have some difficulty perpetuating itself, namely due to certain believers in the story believing that they are more “equal” than others, and therefore deserving of a larger piece of the story. This story seems to involve much violence and disruption as portrayed by the believers of the capitalism story. One should note that the capitalism story also contains high levels of violence and disruption, however in the capitalism story, this violent behavior and disruption are often perpetrated by less advantaged groups. The notion being that if only these disadvantaged groups would buy into the capitalism story, then all would be well, and there would be a happy ending.
  • Penal Rehabilitation is the story that is visited upon those unfortunate enough to rebel against either the capitalism or communism story. It seems choosing not to believe in the main story of one’s culture can have some very significant drawbacks, not to mention restrictions on one’s liberties and freedoms. The penal rehabilitation story basically believes that if one were to take a human being and lock them away in a cage like an animal and mistreat them for a major portion of their life, they would then be able to be released back into society, and be well-functioning and well-adjusted members of said society. This unfortunately is a story believed by many who have been lucky enough not to have been subjected to the penal rehabilitation story.
  • Compassion This is a story that is often under-employed. It is the story that would have one be able to experience what it might be like to walk in the shoes of another, without actually having to live that person’s experience, but being able to feel what it is like. The greater application of this story may make other stories obsolete, as through its use one might come to see how others appear to fare less well, while one seems to be thriving at another’s expense. See the following story below on Environmentalism.
  • Environmentalism This is a very interesting story indeed. It has been growing in strength for many centuries, although there are several who believe it is a myth. The environmentalism story would have one believe that the “environment”, the actual area that one lives and breathes in, is worthwhile maintaining and valuing. This story is a bold afront to the capitalism story, which seeks to downplay the environmentalism story, and have it play in a back alley theatre somewhere in a ghetto. Basically, the environmentalism story is a nuisance to the capitalism story.
  • Ecopsychology This is the story that suggests that humans and nature are related. This story would suggest that there is a highly involved interconnection between the human species and the Earth. This is a highly preposterous story to those who would consider their story to be unfurling in a vacuum of their own design. For further details, please see the “free-market” story not listed here, or the “online gamer” story, also not listed here.  Actually, I stand corrected, the “online gamer” story is probably the most seamlessly matched story to its environment. Unfortunately, the online gamer story is often reduced to a very small screen, and is also subject to regular monthly subscription fees, and / or unstable network conditions.
  • Enlightenment This is a story that suggests, that if you go around and try enough things, and then eventually sit under a tree for long enough, good things will and must happen to you. This story would have one believe, that it is generally advantageous that one become rather round and jolly, after one has had said good things happen to one under said tree. Should one experience the full play of the enlightenment story, then it would be advantageous to draft the “Buddhism” story. Please feel free to substitute for the name of this story any prefix, so long as it ends in “ism”. I actually quite like the Buddhism story, although it seems quite maladaptive to hostile Canadian winters. What with all of that sitting under trees for long periods of time and all.
  • I AM This is perhaps the most popular and most played out story globally. The way this story is said to work is, that the teller of the story first begins with the words “I am”, and then anything that comes after these first two words is doggedly adhered to, often till one’s parting from the planet. One of the benefits of this story, is that the teller is often able to use many variations of the “I am” prefix. These variations are often told to others in a way that may help the teller to appear more than what they are, or they may be told to the storyteller themselves to make themselves believe a story that may be in contradiction to reality. E.G. I am a generous person. I am a caring person. I am a hard worker. But it is through the “I am” story that people have the power to change who they are and how they feel about themselves. It is perhaps one of our most powerful stories at our disposal.

And lest one forget, the often difficult, I am a Maple Leafs fan story. It is beyond the scope of this article, but it is important to point out that as there are good stories, there are also many painful ones.

But Seriously….

Some of the above was meant in fun, some of it can help us see the stories that we have involved ourselves in, without perhaps really taking the time to see where these stories lead.

The take home from all of this might be:

  • listen to what we are saying
  • is that really what we believe
  • where is this “story” taking me and the planet?
  • am I stuck in my story?
  • do I even like the story I am telling myself???
  • if you don’t like the story you are telling about yourself, then maybe it’s time to tell another one

Fairy Tales And Their Effect

We love stories!  My intention here is not to bash stories. I love stories!

I have loved hearing stories ever since I was child. I would plead with my father to read stories to me practically every night before bed. Those stories led to books and to movies later on.

The fairy tales that we were told as children, and the stories that we read to our own children have very powerful effects. And for that reason, perhaps we may wish to be careful what stories we share with them. Those stories have power to sway the minds of children and adults alike.

When we were children, the thing to do was to either be a prince, or a princess. If one were a girl, all one had to do was go to a ball and leave a certain special glass slipper somewhere where a prince would find it and then sit and wait patiently until one was swept up to live happily ever after in a castle!

What a story that is! And most of us men wonder why women spend so much time on picking just the right shoes!  Or why we men are so picky about what type of car we drive. The prince came to pick up the princess on a white shiny horse did he not?

My guess is that those stories we first heard as children are still there in the back of our minds somewhere. Make the stories that you tell your children good ones.

Finally

Stories, whether we are telling them to one another, or taking the time to listen to them, are often the way we choose to show we care. If we like or love someone, we will take the time to sit with them and listen to their story, even if we may have heard innumerable variations of the same story over and over. You older couples probably know what I am talking about here.

In conclusion, stories are the powerful, yet often unseen fabric that weaves our lives together. Often the only differences in sides, are the stories that we seek to believe in or deny.

Perhaps we need to take a close long look at the stories we believe in. Because I can assure you, once you start looking for them, you will see stories everywhere!

Namaste (taken from the Buddhist story)

Perception Is Key!

Perception Is All

A professor once said, “perception is all“. How prophetic a statement that was at the time! I didn’t realize the importance of that statement until many years later. You see, the professor in question was a marketing professor, and how true it is that, it is not the truth of what the product in question will do or deliver, but the perception of what it will do in the consumer’s mind.

 

How this can impact us in our daily life is quite important I believe, especially as it affects our relationships. So often in discussing matters, one can get lost or preoccupied in trying to prove the “truth” of matters to our partner.

It brings to mind that old expression:

Do you want to be right or be happy?

Or better yet:

Do you want to be right AND be alone?

So often there is no one “right” way or approach. For example, what is the best vegetable that one can eat in terms of nutrition? I suppose that one can conduct tests and make measurements and spell it all out and do extensive comparisons. But in the end, it might all come down to which particular vitamin or nutrient that one was focused upon or wanted to accentuate.

We may even manage to come up with a particular vegetable which seems to offer the most nutritional value on a broad selection of criteria, but is it THE most nutritionally dense vegetable on the planet? Is the most nutritionally dense food even a vegetable? How do we know for sure? It may even turn out to be a liquid!

In the absence of absolute, scientifically-backed, irrefutable evidence, we are left with our informed “perceptions” of what may be one of the most highly dense foods on the planet. In such a case, it might also be wise to leave ourselves open to being pleasantly surprised by some new finding coming our way.

But in romantic relationships, and in our daily lives, we may be better suited in stating that, “according to my own findings and perceptions, here is what I think is the answer”. This leaves a lot of room for discussion, and more importantly, respecting the perceptions of those around us.

In the end, do we want to spend our time and energy “proving” that we are right? Bearing in mind that this would make our partner wrong And nobody really likes being wrong for any extended period of time I think. Or do we want to spend our time and energy getting closer to each other?

Maybe the true usefulness of this perspective might be, that the next time we are involved in a heated discussion, we may allow each party to bow out gracefully by saying that “from my perspective” this is how things “appear” to me.

Respecting each other’s differences. Quite possibly the subject of another article down the road! :)

 

 

 

Communication Tip #2: Taking Turns Talking AND Listening!

 Taking Turns: Talking AND Listening

Communication
geralt / Pixabay

Communication tips may come in many forms and varieties, but one thing is sure:

If one person isn’t really listening while the other person is talking, there are bound to be all kinds of miscommunication problems!

What does it mean to really listen?

Really listening would mean:

  • Paying attention
  • Looking at the speaker
  • Not being distracted by devices or other things
  • Giving feedback, verbally or non-verbally
  • Asking pertinent and relevant questions
  • Not interrupting
  • Letting go of our agenda, and not just waiting for our turn to speak
  • Trying to really understand what the speaker is saying

Phew! That sounds like a lot of hard work!!!

And it is! Anyone whose day or work involves a lot of listening will tell you that it can be quite draining and require a lot of work!

But the benefits of offering your speaking partner your full attention and developing good listening skills are many:

  • Better understanding
  • Less potential arguments
  • Improved relationships
  • Greater knowledge
  • Good listening may be returned when it is our turn to speak

The benefits of good listening skills are many, and this list is not meant to be exhaustive. One of the most important things we can give to somebody is our time and attention. Why not give it in a way that also maximizes “our time” by trying to get better at really giving our full attention and concentration when somebody is wanting and needing our attention.

As alluded to in previous posts on communication, making sure that we have the listener’s attention before we start to talk, and making sure that both parties are in a good space, both physically, mentally and emotionally may greatly enhance our chances of having a good rewarding conversation.

The good news is that we can start getting better at this today!

It just takes an earnest desire to really listen to what our partner or friend is saying, and not to assume that we know what they mean. When we are in doubt, maybe that is the time to ask for clarification? And when it is our turn to talk, then we make as much effort as we are able to, to speak in terms that we hope our conversation partner will understand.

Message well chosen, delivered and received, and responded to!

If you are enjoying these communication tips, then I’ve got good news for you! Click HERE to find out how to communciate better in your relationship!

 

 

How To Communicate Better With Your Partner

 

Conflict Arises

Argument
OpenClips / Pixabay

What?  You don’t agree with me???

Sometimes knowing how to communicate better with our partners is not something that comes naturally to us. We all have those moments when we don’t agree with our partner, or they don’t agree with us.

 

But how we handle our differences can make ALL the difference in the world.

Conflict or “difference of opinion”, as I like to call it, are a regular occurrence I believe in any longer term relationship or pattern of relating between two or more people. Add to that differences in the following areas:

  • expectations
  • assumptions
  • addictive demands
  • different upbringings
  • cultures

And you set the stage for regular and frequent differences in perspective. What you do when this happens will make all the difference! What to do when a partner asks us about something, and we know we don’t share the same perspective or viewpoint? Or, what do you do when you promised your partner you would do something and you didn’t do it?

How It Starts!

Butting heads
PeterDargatz / Pixabay

Quite often we are asked about something that we either agreed to do, or that our partner expected us to do. And the moment they ask us about it we realize:

  • we forgot
  • we didn’t do it
  • we were too busy
  • we committed to something that we shouldn’t have
  • we said yes, but we really had no intention of following through

Agreements Will Make Or Break Your Level Of Trust

Trust
Dave175 / Pixabay

Our relationships are only as strong as the level of trust between both partners. And that level of trust comes from the promises that we make and keep. It shows that we are trustworthy and that our word counts for something.

Every promise that you break weakens your relationships ….. Always!

We Broke A Promise:  Now What?

Now What?
geralt / Pixabay

Your partner may know that you did not deliver on a promise. They may decide to ask you if you fulfilled your promise as a way of further testing your honesty. This is not recommended as it sets the stage for an eventual “grilling” and putting one’s partner on the defensive. It is basically setting up your partner. You are on the same side remember. If there is some information that you know of, then state it up front and give your partner the benefit of the doubt to answer you. There may very well be a good reason that they were unable to fulfill their promise to you. As you may at some point feel that you have a very valid reason for not being able to meet an obligation that your partner was relying on you for.

How we treat our partners in some way or another comes back to us

To Defend Or Not To Defend?

Making it worse
Nemo / Pixabay

Defending, is probably one of the worst things that I see on a regular basis that causes difficulties in couples!

When our partner comes to us with a problem or something that is bothering them, chances are that they have likely taken the time to consider whether or not they felt it was worthwhile to speak to us about this issue. They are likely wanting to be:

  • heard
  • understood
  • listened to
  • considered seriously
  • not have to justify how they feel
  • are seeking answers, not justification

However, what our partners and we often get is:

  • defensiveness
  • shutting down
  • anger
  • criticism
  • stonewalling
  • indifference

Is this what we were really hoping to create with the person that we wanted to spend the rest of our life with? And is this what we were hoping to get from them? Imagine if you got the same response from a customer service desk at a major retail store, that you typically give to your partner when they have a complaint or concern?

How long would you shop at this store?  How long would you expect your partner to shop at YOUR store with that kind of service???

Yes there are other “stores” out there!!!!

What To Do Differently:  Inquiry vs. Defensiveness!

When our partner asks us about something we can do the following to better communicate with them:

  • be open
  • friendly
  • concerned
  • give them our full attention
  • listen
  • listen…. yes, I know I just said it, but it is worth saying again
  • listen some more …. no that doesn’t mean waiting for them to stop talking so we can say what we want to say
  • ask questions to show we are interested and involved

And this is where “inquiry” comes in! Inquiry would have us be curious about what our partner is telling us. Realizing that they are not out to get us. Although sometimes it might feel that way. In those cases we can simply say that we are feeling attacked and ask them to change their tone or approach with us. Even better would be to tell our partner how to best approach us. Why make it a guessing game for them. That only leads to frustration on both sides.

A Different Result

When our partner comes to us with a genuine concern, and we can see that they are needing our help to resolve something that is important to us, hopefully we stop what we are doing, if that is feasible, and give them our full attention. Sensing that our partner is approaching us in a gentle, respectful, non-threatening way, we are hopefully able to let down our guard and feel safe. We can then feel comfortable and begin to ask questions and become curious as to how we may be able to help them to solve their problem. From this moment on we are beginning to respond to our partner from a new fresh and enlivening perspective called:  Inquiry.

Detective
OpenClips / Pixabay

It’s almost like being a “detective”. Being curious about things that our partner is telling us. Trusting them to know that what they are telling us is important to them. And they have come to us! Of all the people in the world to help them with their problem! Now doesn’t that make us feel special as opposed to under attack? Start “Inquiring” today and see the difference it can make in all of your relationships!

Inquiring couple
Nemo / Pixabay

Special Note

There may be times when you or your partner may want to just be “listened to” and not asked questions. You may want to help each other out by stating what you need from the other in this moment. On an ongoing basis, knowing whether your partner wants you to just listen to them is a master level course and possibly the subject of another article :)

But if you would like to learn more about communication, click HERE to find out about another tip that could come in handy!