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Communication & Connection Part 2

communication,relationships,effective communication,communication styles,communication in relationships,connection

 

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After almost 40 years of working to help couples, I offer a podcast of substance on what relationships require to last for the long haul. I use books & movies to illustrate the points I’m trying to make. I offer challenges of things you can actually do in your own relationship at the end of every podcast which is under 10 minutes.

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Welcome to episode ten: “Communication Improvements Part 2”.

When people talk about communication, I think they’re really talking about connection. Communication is the way we can connect with each other. And sometimes connection seems really difficult if we feel different about really important things. Communication builds on trust. Trust evaporates so easily because we were picked on in middle school and we remember it, because our father or mother was critical, because our best friend has an affair with our partner. There are as many reasons as there are humans to be afraid of trusting someone else.

The only way to solve this dilemma of trust and communication is to begin with ourselves. Do you know what you want, and then risk the communication of asking someone else? Or do you avoid taking responsibility for figuring out what you want and focus on everyone else instead? If you want to communicate with someone else you have to communicate within yourself. You must listen to who you are and what you want. Not ignore it.

We would rather text than talk face-to-face because it’s easier. We avoid seeing the hurt in someone else’s eyes or the flinch of their pain. We cop out, we keep things superficial, or we keep secrets because we are afraid. All of this interrupts the connection.

The AMC show, “Humans,” which just wrapped up its first season, demonstrates the damage of secret keeping. It is Laura’s robust servant or synthetic that helps her understand that keeping a secret from her husband has been very destructive to their relationship. The show makes you think a lot about what it means to be human. Laura has a lot of shame about her secret and shame is an obstacle to all communication.

We all have to struggle with shame when we make mistakes. Shame is a huge part of being human, and it’s very hard to be vulnerable if we’re ashamed. We’d so much prefer to close up like a clam to protect ourselves.

So if you need to share something that you are ashamed of with somebody begin exactly that way with a truth. This is very hard for me to share because I’m ashamed. I guarantee that people feel closer after sharing shameful secrets at least 85% of the time. The foundation of communication is truth telling.

The same television show, “Humans,” offers William Hurt a role as a professor. He communicates with truth and clarity. A synthetic is point a gun at him and asks, “Are you scared?” and he says, “No.” There is no doubt in your mind that that is the truth. Clarity comes from knowing who you are and what you want. It’s one of the lovely parts of aging that nobody really talks about.

The more clarity you are able to bring to communication the less dramatic or noisy you will be. Communication is an elegant business because it is about connection and trust is flimsy.

Acknowledging the other persons wants, along with admitting your own wants, can be complicated. This is why it may take twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty conversations about the same topic to soften the values, differences between the two of you about what matters and what is important. It’s the norm to shut up, stay stuck in, “I’m right,” yell or be mean. Maybe we have a total of two conversations.

We love the comfortable simplicity of either winning or giving up. It’s very hard to work through the complicatedness of truth to both points of view. Because the right thing to do is the hard thing to do and acknowledging complicatedness is hard work.

So I think a lot about communication and what’s important because it was such an absence in my own life. So many clients tell me, “I hate conflict,” “I avoid conflict,” “I don’t do conflict.” To be human is to conflict and disagree with someone else.

We are not clones so if you avoid conflict you avoid any real connection. You see, it’s the conflict that offers the moments of truth that must be explored to have any real communication. Facing conflict helps you grow up, helps the relationship mature, and helps you understand what’s important to both of you.

I realize I need an outlet for my audience to communicate with me, so I’ve set up a new email dedicated to this podcast, just for my listeners,[email protected]
I would love some ideas or questions you would like me to respond to. I really want this podcast to help you.

My challenge for you today is to spend some time thinking about your wants within your own relationships. How might you bring more clarity to talking about your wants? Do you have any secret shames that you need to be more genuine about? Communication builds on trust, trust building on sharing growth. The more you practice talking about hard things the more improvement in communication and connection in every relationship.

Thanks for listening. This is Rhoda, sharing what I’ve learned after thirty-five years of working with couples.

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