I have been very aware lately of how in our society we are afraid to be direct and to communicate openly and honestly. We have created a society that fosters hiding our true thoughts and feelings because we are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want to offend someone or we are afraid of their reaction. Over the past few years I have been focused on communicating more effectively and honestly. For me this is an important part of my spiritual growth and personal development. As I learn to speak my truth in an open, honest way it allows me to create freedom within myself and my life and at the same time it creates deeper more meaningful relationships. I don’t think that our society realizes the importance of communication. If we all learned to speak from our hearts in a clear, articulate manner it would change the world.
I recently had a girlfriend ask me if I was free on a certain day and she told me that she wanted to visit her family on that day but she didn’t ask me if I wanted to go with her. Though I knew that that is what she was thinking and what she wanted. I couldn’t figure out why she didn’t just come out and ask me if I wanted to go. In the end I did ask her why she didn’t come out and ask me directly if I wanted to go. She said that she didn’t want to impose on me and didn’t want me to feel obligated to go. I told her that I would like her to be direct with me and ask me what she needs and it is up to me to decide if I want to or not. This is where I think that we get stuck…we often think about the other person and what they might think and that stops us from doing things. I love the saying “It is none of my business what other people think of me”. I think that this is a great saying. Because it is none of my business how people are going to react. It is important to ask for what we need and to trust that the other person can take care of themselves. When we try to protect other people we are caretaking and essentially what we are saying is that we don’t trust that the other person can take care of themselves. So in a sense we are doing them a disservice. We are not allowing them to be responsible for themselves. Here are some tips to help you in your journey to communicate effectively:
- Figure out what your needs or wants are and articulate them clearly to the person or persons whom you are communicating to.
- Speak from your heart and be open and honest. When we speak from a loving place people are often more open to hearing it.
- Organize in your mind or by writing it out what you want to articulate and the point that you want to get across.
- Stay on topic. Don’t get sidetracked with other things. Don’t bring in things from the past. Stay in the present and with the point that you are discussing.
- When talking take responsibility for yourself and keep it about you i.e. “I feel this when this happens”. When we point fingers at other people they get defensive. Keep it about what you think and feel.
- Be a good listener and keep an open mind.
- Body language: pay attention. Don’t have your arms crossed. Keep eye contact and have an open demeanour.
Remember that learning to be an effective communicator and to be honest takes time and practice. So be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time.