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A Letter to My Unhappy Self: Better Days are Coming

A Letter to My Unhappy Self: Better Days are Coming

To My Unhappy Self,

Life isn’t always easy and I guess you don’t always get your way, no matter how hard you try and no matter how hard you believed in it. You really thought you had it all figured out until you realize you hadn’t. So maybe you took a left when you should have taken a right? Big deal, then! So what do you want to do now? Be miserable for a while, that’s okay. In fact, it’s probably healthier to go down this road. Bruise and hurt and question everything, and once you’re done, just get back up and rolling again.

Another day is another chance to make it right. To fix all these things you consider as utterly wrong and to make it all better and nicer.

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You are luckier than you think so never stop being grateful. You do know that you are blessed, sometimes beyond measure, and you always keep somewhere in the back of your mind that little voice that whispers how life could be way worst. But there are the dark days. You know the days when you decide to just hate everything about you, and your life, and the entire universe around you. The bad days when you think that life is nothing but miserable simply because things didn’t go as you planned them to; simply because life has played a trick on you.

But you know better. You’ve seen so much and learned so much already. You’ve loved way too hard at times and lost people you cared about way too soon. But honey, between you and me, you’ve been broken so many times that there’s no other option for you but to stand back up and keep moving forward. Sometimes you’ve clang on to things and situations and people you should have let go of but hey, you’ve learned something along the way.

So if there’s a day – and oh we know there will be – when you just feel like hating yourself and your life and the whole universe around, please just pause for a second and stay still. I hope you’ll take that time out to reminisce some good about you (not just what makes you unhappy) and the things that make your life and all you are. I hope you’ll take the chance to look beneath the layers of dirt you’ve decided to cover yourself up with. I hope you’ll see the good in you hidden down there. And as you do this, remember that you deserve kindness, love and respect and stop acting like you had to lower your standards to match up someone else’s will. I know there will be people you’ll be afraid to lose and you’ll want them to love you back but keep in mind that love cannot be forced. Remember that everything happens for a reason; the signs are here for a reason. I know sometimes it just hurts too much to face the truth and you rather look the other way for a while but that’s okay. You’re strong so I know you won’t stay sidetracked for too long and in the end, you’ll do what’s best for you.

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And though it can be real hard at times to go through life with that hole within that makes you unhappy, please don’t despair. You are loved by the right people so don’t worry and stay the way you are. Remain open to love, positive energies, and to life. Don’t try to force things too much. They will come into your life naturally and for the best outcome.

So keep working hard, never give up on what you believe in and keep trying to be your best self.

Oh and don’t forget to smile and stay positive because seriously babe, you spend way too much time looking miserable. Always let love and light in even on the darkest days. Always rise above the negative and if you ever come to doubt of your own worth or if your heart bruises too much because of something or someone, remember something good about yourself. You can’t be that bad.

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You are loveable and I’ve got a feeling you won’t stop there. Greater things and better days are coming your way so keep holding on.

And not matter what, always remember your luck and all the love you have in you.

You matter.

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xx

Featured photo credit: IM FREE via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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