Why do I say that?
Because, in every relationship, people develop their own way of talking and communicating with each other.
Whether it’s two friends or a romantic couple, the act of communication is key to bonding and developing a deeper relationship.
In fact, as humans, we’re meant to be in a relationship with each other.
No man is an island – nor should he be!
But, with each of these relationships comes challenges and obstacles.
Two people approach a new relationship with baggage from other relationships.
They developed their ability to communicate with their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Unfortunately, HOW they learn to communicate is not always the healthiest way to express themselves.
One of the key components of communication is not learning to express yourself better or learning to control your leap to judgment – although both of those ARE important.
No, the most important component of learning to communicate with your partner is learning to listen!
But not just listening to the words that come out of their mouth, but also hearing the words and processing what they’re saying before you come to a conclusion about how you will respond.
But listening and hearing is a difficult skill to learn and perfect.
It’s easy when we’re concentrating on learning, but in the heat of an argument, it can be a real challenge to step back and remember to hear what your partner is really saying and not what you think they are saying.
It can be a challenge to put our own point of view aside and just listen to what’s being said.
So many times we are afraid that our point of view won’t be heard and so we plunge ahead with our own arguments, instead of learning what your partner is saying.
Unfortunately, this kind of behaviour makes it even more likely that you WON’T be heard and your point of view appreciated.
Even though your mouth isn’t working, it doesn’t mean you’re listening.
Instead, you have to quiet your mind as well.
In order to do this, you have to take your mind off of what you’ll be saying next and really HEAR what the other person IS saying.
There is one trick that works well – although you may feel silly at first.
Before you discount the strategy, try it and learn how well it keeps you in touch with what is being communicated.
It’s called rephrasing or reflection and it’s a technique employed by therapists and counsellors the world over.
And that’s because it works, and it works well.
Imagine being in a room for eight hours listening to other people’s issues and problems.
At some point, your mind will wander and you’ll be thinking of something or someone else.
Using this technique keeps you focused on the here and now.
Don’t do it too often or too much because it can come across as being very disrespectful to your partner.
But it forces you to listen seriously.
Use it sparingly and if your partner asks why you are repeating what’s being said you can reply, “Sometimes I’m not sure I heard you and I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying.”
Remember, live and love fully.