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What is communication? Communication is not just about verbalizing, one to another. Although this must be present, there is a much deeper level that occurs between people where one feels safe, one feels understood.
Communication may include agreeing or disagreeing with another. Often couples are unhappy when their partner does not agree with their particular point of view.
We cannot force connectedness. Sometimes if we are out of sorts with each other, letting it be and accepting this will allow things to go back into a harmonious situation. Be patient and wait. In our world of instant gratification this is hard. But it has its rewards. It gives the other person space to think things over and respond. Otherwise we may abort the other’s response and never really and truly hear what he has to say.
Empathy is essential to good communication. Empathy is the ability to recognize the other person’s view accurately. It involves being able to find answers instead of sinking into an uncompromising stance. Empathy allows the other to feel respected, accepted and valued. It teaches us to make close friends with our partner and keeps misunderstandings to a minimum. By avoiding being offensive, we begin to focus on the feelings of both individuals instead of just on our own.
To be empathetic suggests caring about another’s feelings and responding to them with an appropriate emotion. We have to learn to recognize another’s sufferings and know how to console and comfort them. If we have difficulty with this, we can ask them how they feel and what we can do to help and support them. So we are not guessing what is happening.
To create good communication, we must set up a safe place for that to take place. We cannot expect the other to be open and receptive if we are approaching them with an angry or combative stance. We must learn to express our own feelings without being verbally abusive, condemning or debasing.
Our own process must include a great concern for the other person’s needs and temperament. Two people do not have to have similar personalities to communicate. But each needs to know what the other requires in order to feel heard. Then we can work toward giving it to them.
In this way we assure our own growth and the growth of our significant other. We must work toward mutual satisfaction and fulfillment. We will then have a relationship that continues to become more valuable and worthwhile.
Atlanta Counseling Center for Empowerment & Change
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Atlanta, Georgia 30316
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