In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, gives us an insight into why we have communication barriers and how to overcome them…
One of the things I have always believed is that problems arise because somewhere along the line, we have committed to being afraid of genuinely communicating. And believe me, coming from a “everything is always fine” master, I have found great tricks to keep myself away from talking.
When I started my healing journey, I magically discovered that communicating was a great healing tool on its own. That’s when I started exploring the mechanisms behind communication and, in most cases, non communication…
Living with kids has taught me a great deal of things. One of the most important is how much fear we place in telling the truth and how that fear transforms itself into silence and, even worse, into lies. Studies have shown that kids generally start lying to either avoid getting in trouble or to get more attention. Whatever the reason may be, we start avoiding true communication from an early age and we bring it on with us throughout the rest of our lives, in different forms and with different techniques.
I’m sure we can all relate to a little kid that has done something wrong and, to cover it up, they invent a great story that becomes a white lie. The reasons behind the white lie may be:
- 1. I do not want mummy or daddy to scream at me
- I don’t want to be punished
- I always do something wrong
- I don’t want to feel shame for what I did…
and we could go on and on to find different reasons behind the little cover-up lies.
You see, kids do not necessarily see the distinction between reality and fiction, which makes them accomplices in their own lies and their own stories.
Why am I talking about this, you may ask? Well, because I believe that’s exactly when we start to create beliefs and habits that, in turn, create blocks to our communication. You see, if a kid starts believing it’s easier to tell a lie or shut up rather than tell the truth – because the reaction to the truth brings on pain, anger or shame – what kind of belief do you think they continue with as teen or adult?
Failing to truthfully communicate is the number one reason for relationship endings, work frustrations and it can go as far as being the root of disagreements in everyday life.
Do you always say what you mean?
Do you know how to truly listen to the person in front of you or are you just concentrating on what to say next?
What are the chances you’re letting your map of the world misinterpret the words of the other person?
What would it take to let your guard down and be ok to say what’s truly on your heart?
With no anger, no sadness, no frustration… just calmness… you are allowing yourself to be you and when you do that there is no need to fight, no need for expectations, no need for arrogance. Just the need to be in that space you have just created by destroying the walls you have once raised to protect you.
1. Learn to listen
Have you ever realised how much time we spend trying to figure out the answer we need to give even before the other person has finished talking?
That diversion from listening to thinking, how much do you think decreased your information intake? Did you really listen to everything the person in front of you said? Did you concentrate on the tone of the voice or on the words? How was the non-verbal communication? Did you even pay attention to that? You see, communication is not only words. It can be so much more than that, if you let it. Be an active listener, look the person in the eyes, stop whatever you’re doing and commit your full attention to the conversation, pause your thoughts and pause your need to answer, prevail, justify and judge. Hold the space for the other person and just be present.
2. Speak the truth
Do you say what you want to say or do you say what the other person wants to hear? Do you pick a fight because it’s easier than expressing what’s truly on your heart? Do you just shut up and play the “I’m ok” game? What would you say that you’re not saying? How would you say it? How would you like to hear it? What do you need to say that is weighing on your shoulders?
The truth is, we can never anticipate another person’s reaction. But the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can improve the way we act and react. When we speak from the heart, whether it’s a frustration, a dream, a fear, an issue, an advice… we speak from a place of love and most importantly we speak the truth. By speaking the truth you first of all respect yourself and secondly, you respect the other person. What do you need to speak about? Boundaries? Emotions? Feelings? Your needs? Frustrations? New ideas? Competences? Whatever it is, as long as it’s said from the heart, holding the space from a place of love and respect to the other person. And even when the other person sends you hatred, respond with love because, if you really think about it, isn’t love the only thing we all go searching for? Infinitely.
3. We are not mind readers!
Ok, ok, sometimes we like to think we are! However, in general, people don’t know what’s on our minds and we can’t pretend that our best friend, boyfriend, partner, boss gets how we feel because of a great power that allows them to read us in an instant and know exactly how to react to keep us happy! Most relationships fail because we fail to communicate our needs. We want the other person to understand what we need but, of course, without saying telling them. We are unhappy at work, a friend has hurt us, we really need a hug… but do we actually say it? What would it take you to ask? What would it cost to just say it?
The work we’re doing here is to let go of all the barriers we have built, of all the limiting beliefs we are holding on to and of anything we have read, heard, learned and that does not belong to us anymore. That’s the first big conversation to have: the one with the self. The ones with others then follow more naturally.
Communication means connection. Connection with self, connection with others. Talking, expressing and communicating openly and truly will not only release you of useless frustrations but also improve relationships, friendships, work atmosphere and help you solve most problems.
Have fun expressing, expanding, exploring, evolving.