How To Communicate with ease and Clarity In Your Relationships
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives”
~ Anthony Robbins
One of the most potent skills I have learned through my years of coaching, and one which still to this day I am learning on a deeper level, is the art of Authentic Communication.
Have you ever had one of those moments where:
Something is truly bothering you, and you want to speak up about it but you feel silly?
Or, you’re afraid of what the person in front of you might say or how they might react?
Or worse, you lay out a scenario of events in your mind around what will happen if you do say what you need to say… except not saying it is causing you to feel drained and frustrated?
Or you don't know what to say, and you don’t have a fast enough answer, so instead you just say “anything”, and regret it later?
Authentic communication is defined as a way of speaking all layers of the truth in a a manner which is easy to receive for the listener. It’s also about listening with your whole body, mind and heart, and without judgement. Last week, I wrote a post about why it’s so important to say what you mean to say, and this week, I want to extend on it by giving you some frameworks to practise communicating in a way that is authentic, non-violent, and brings tonnes of clarity and connection to the people you care about.
Frameworks for Authentic Communication.
Warning: Some of these seem like natural things to do - because they are! But the whole point here is to show you how you’re already doing everything you need to be doing to have the life you want - now it’s time to start acting deliberately.
Your problems are only serious as long as you believe in them
Without getting too existential on you right now - our life is determined by the meaning we make of things. We make things a problem by the meaning we place on what is happening. Freedom comes when we stop taking life, and ourselves, and our issues, so seriously. It doesn't really matter what you believe about the world, as long as you can get to the truth of it, so you can ask yourself if it’s working for you or not. If you want to understand more about this, check out this article.
There are Many Layers to the Truth
Sometimes how or what you think about the truth is also your truth, and by expressing it, you’re bringing further clarity and connection, and layers to the situation. For example, lets say you’re in a relationship, and your husband or partner just cannot put the dishes in the dishwasher, and leaves them in the sink. Instead of yelling and screaming, because you realise it’s a measly ask, but it’s important to you, expressing who you feel silly asking this, but it is important to you before you ask him to put the dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink is a very wise thing to do. Without these “seemingly obvious, so why should I say them” layers, what you are asking someone to do can simply seem like a “rule”, or like you’re being bossy. Expressing how you feel about your truth brings further insight to someone who remember - cannot read your mind or your heart.
You Have Permission to be Messy
Look it doesn't always come out eloquently, or “right”. It doesn’t have to. If we are all attempting to be perfect all the time, there’s no room for growth - or truth, mind you. I have a friend who says to her husband “just say what’s on your mind - it doesn’t even have to be real!” all in the name of getting it out. Life moves forwards when there is no fear of failure. You experience the growth in the ups and the downs. When there is no room for being messy, we get bottlenecked in our communication - and you stop others from being able to speak their minds in an imperfect way too - which is holding off the love and connection for the bot of you. So be messy - say what you think, and keep your two open hearts in mind when you do.
Take Your Own Time
Authentic communication is not rushed, but gentle, and conscious. When you’re listening, breathe deep, and be present with the person communicating with you, and where they are coming from. Don;t start to form up an answer while they are still talking. Give them the stage, their space, and time. When it’s you who is talking, take your time to say what you need to say. If you need more time to formulate your thoughts into words, say it.
Assume that people are doing their best that they can with what they have in each moment. Sometimes, and this circles back to being messy, when thing don’t come out right, it can be easy to feel hurt or want to defend. But when you assume love, you can feel a sense of compassion, ease, freedom, and grounded-ness in the conversation. Assume this person in front of you both means well, is speaking from their heart. is feeling vulnerable, being honest, cares about you, and, will take what you have to say well too.
Connection is more powerful than Correction
Circling back with the other distinctions above, when someone is speaking to you, aim to be present with their style of communication. Hear what they are saying under any perceived “errors” in the way they are saying it. If it’s really important to you, bring it up later, in a connected way when it’s your chance to express yourself.
Clean up your unfinished business
Working with a coach or mentor can help you to clear out old emotional, behavioural and belief patterns that can trigger off from the past, in this present moment and effect your current relationships in an unconscious way. Even if you aren’t certain you have any, often these habits are patterns of behaviour you would never question, because they are the foundations of what you believe. If life is not showing up the way you want it, or you’d like things to be different but you’re coming up against a lot of resistance, book in a session to speak with a coach and see what might be going on for you. Our external world is a reflection of our internal atmosphere, after all.
Let it Go
Let go of expectations, and let go of the need for a certain result. When we hold onto expectations in our conversations, we set ourselves up for defensiveness and disappointment. Practise being mindful - and in the moment, and focus on the conversation, and the person. Not the outcome.
Take responsibility for your own experience of Life.
Our partners are not there to make us feel anything. We are here to being ourselves any experience we choose. Our parents are not meant to do anything, or respond to our actions in any particular way. Don’t put your security and happiness in someone else’s hands. Take responsibility for it yourself, and the conversations you have won’t hurt you.
Listen with your heart
Stay silent. Breathe deep. No judgement, No waiting until it’s your turn to debate what this person is saying. Soften, and open, and listen. Authentic relating and communicating is not just about speaking the truth and waiting for your turn to speak. Listen, by Imagining that you have to repeat what this person is saying, back to them. When you truly listen, you don't allow your own inner-dialogue to react, we simply listen, breathe, and hear.
Connect the Chunks
Find a way to talk about your desires. In communication, and in negotiation, there is always a way to “chunk up” to an agreed platform.For example, if two people are arguing over something petty and detailed, “Chunking up” would be an example by saying, hang on, we love each other, right? We both want the best for each other, right? And finding a place that is a higher, more universal space to hold your perspective, to come to agreement. Arguments occur when we focus too much on details (Chunking down) instead of focusing on the big picture (chunking up) and coming to agreement. The best way to do this, is by reconnecting to, and talking about our desires.
Appreciate and Celebrate
Don’t forget within your communication, to celebrate and appreciate what you love, and what’s working. Like a good ‘ole feedback sandwich - Slice of “good thing” bread, - A few ingredients to make a constructive criticism or desire filling - altered with another Slice of “good thing” piece of bread. Continue to look for and create opportunities in your life to celebrate the people in your life, their contribution and celebrate what’s working. By celebrating others, they will show up more to shine, and our relationships start moving in the direction of working better.
The world needs you to be a big, shining light of example Not to dim your light. You are not here to suffer, or play small, That’s not what anyone wants, or needs, or deserves. You are here to be your big bright self. And it’s going to require you, to dig deep and express yourself in ways you may not feel ready for always. It’s ok.
(Click to tweet)
And now, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below and tell me, which one of these frameworks calls out to you the most - perhaps it’s the one that feels easiest for you, or, it’s the one you are most challenged by.
Remember - Naming what it is, and getting it out is the name of the game, I invite you to start your journey to freedom in communication by leaving me a comment below.
Love, Hayley XX
P.S. Did you like this post? Please share it with anyone who you know would love a little extra help with how to communicate with loved ones.