“In the beginning we were one.” This is the perspective of modern physics, which holds that the universe began as an infinitesimally small and dense point, erupting about 13.7 billion years ago with the formation of the universe. Since that moment in which time, space, energy, and matter came into being, the pieces have been trying to get back together. Subatomic particles form attachments to create atoms; atoms like to assemble as molecules; molecules congregate as biochemicals, which craft cells, tissues, organs, and living beings.
Living beings form relationships through the power of communication – the sharing of information. This, in essence, is bringing pieces together. Communication through human beings is a method of sharing that can deepen connections and feelings of unity. Communication is often met with preconceived notions and conditioned behavior. When we behave in predictable and conditioned ways, or assume we already know what another is going to share or, even still, stop listening because we are thinking about our response or what we want to say next, there is no true sharing and certainly no deepening of the connection.
Relationships falter when we know how people will respond before they say or do anything. Effective communication requires that we break out of our conditioned responses, while tuning into the needs of the moment. Relationships that consistently refer to the past or impose certainty onto the future inevitably become stagnant or disintegrate.
Get clarity about what you need, be sensitive to the needs of those around you, and commit to enhancing your communication skills. Getting your needs met and helping others meet theirs through effective communication begins with paying attention to three basic principles: (1) Vulnerability, (2) Code breaking, and (3) Accordance.”¨”¨
The essence of communication in relationships is the crossing of boundaries. This requires that you acknowledge your own boundaries along with the boundaries others, and then consciously open a channel that allows information to flow. Effective communication requires a willingness to be vulnerable. Allowing yourself to be consciously vulnerable means opening to the possibility that something unexpected and unpredicted may transpire.
Only if you can relinquish your need to defend your self-image while seeking to communicate something original is there the possibility of deepening intimacy. Most arguments are created when we sense we have to sacrifice some aspect of our ego and decide that the price may not be worth the intimacy.
Being sensitive to your sensations of comfort and discomfort helps you decide when to be open and when to do a better job of clearly defining your boundaries. If you find that you are having a recurrent argument, it’s usually a sign that you need to be more conscious of where you want to set your margins. It is your choice to say yes or no. If your heart says it’s safe, allow your vulnerability to take your relationship to a new level.”¨”¨
Code breaking means being willing to suspend your assumptions and listen attentively to what another person is trying to communicate. Particularly when approaching emotionally vulnerable issues, we are prone to talk in our own code, testing whether it is safe to be more vulnerable. Practice being willing to say, “I’m not sure I understand what you need right now”, or “I am not sure that you are hearing what I need right now. Can you tell me (can I clarify for you?) in a different way?” Breaking out of the conditioned code words, means exploring a new vocabulary so that real information is communicated.
Accordance means seeking solutions in which both people get some needs met. Relinquish your pattern of belief that if one person wins another loses. Practice saying, “I’ll do my best to give you what you’re asking for. Are you willing to help me get my needs met?” If you lead with a commitment to serve, you are more likely to hear “yes” in response to your requests, deepening your connection and developing the confidence that your relationships can be nourishing. Through the power of communication, your heart can open and your sense of self can expand.
If you are looking to deepen your relationships and learn the basics of authentic communication (with yourself and others) take a look at this online course – Transformative Communication – an easy and life-enhancing approach for better relationships.