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10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One

10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One

Communication is absolutely vital for every relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a child, a parent, or a dear friend. In our harried, hectic daily lives, we can often forget just how important simple acts are for maintaining a strong, healthy connection, but by devoting some time to re-establishing those connective threads with those we love, we can keep our bonds strong.

1. Listen, don’t just wait to speak.

One of the main problems that people have when communicating with others is that they don’t actually take the time to listen. Sure, they hear the general gist of what the other person is saying, but they’re mostly just biding time until they can toss their two cents into the mix.

Draw your attention out of your own cranium, and really listen to what’s being said to you. Once the other person has finished speaking (and don’t even think about interrupting them or finishing their sentences), take a moment to mull over what they’d said before responding: you’ll be able to process everything in depth, and give them a reply that’s sincere.

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2. Be honest.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again: the worst truth is better than the best lie. True friends are those who will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it (albeit gently and tactfully), and couples who are honest with one another can weather life’s storms as a team, rather than staying silent about issues until they overflow and damage things beyond repair. If you’re gentle and honest with those you love, you can work through any trial together, with love and compassion.

3. Write!

Written words are powerful for more than one reason: the recipient can read your note/letter/card over and over again so the words can be learned by heart, and they can also recognize the fact that you took the time to write something to them by hand. Emails are all well and good for a moment’s communication, but when you write someone a letter, even if it’s just a couple of sentences in a store-bought card, you let them know just how important they are to you.

4. Go outside.

Make plans to take an outing together, where you’ll be free from distractions like TV, internet access, etc. Consider turning your phones off while you’re out there so you can really immerse yourselves in nature, and enjoy beautiful things together. Having a picnic in a park, exploring your local waterfront, or hiking nature trails in the forest gives you a perfect opportunity to pay attention to one another while experiencing all the rejuvenation the natural world has to offer. Being outside can lift everyone’s spirits, and an environment that’s fresh and alive is a perfect place to talk about new ideas, projects, or even life changes you’ve had in mind.

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5. Make a physical connection.

Did you know that babies who don’t get enough physical contact often fail to thrive, and can even die from lack of touch? The need for physical contact is so ingrained in humans that we actually fail to thrive without it. When you spend time with those you love, be sure to make some kind of contact from time to time to reinforce your connection with them. Holding hands, hugging, or even just sitting side by side with shoulders/legs touching is enough to provide reassurance and comfort.

6. Let them know how you feel.

How many times have we heard about people who have lost a loved one and then lamented that they never told them how they really felt? Too often, that’s for sure. If you value someone’s creativity, if you appreciate how they take care of you, if you enjoy their company, or any other wonderful aspect about them, let them know. Not only will you brighten their day, but they’ll realize their worth to you. This is particularly important for kids between the ages of 12 and 18, as their emotions are all over the place and they need reassurance and love, even as they try to push others away.

7. Recognize their “prime time”.

Some people are at their best and most alert first thing in the morning, while others prefer to socialize after dinner. If the one you love is a groggy mess for the first 3 hours after waking, it’s not a good time to talk to them about anything important during that time. Communication will be much smoother when you can approach them during their “prime time”.

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8. Take time outs as needed.

If you’re trying to talk to someone about something important, and emotions start to get fired up, it may be best to take a break and then return to the conversation when you’ve both calmed down. When tensions run high, things may be said in anger that can’t be taken back, so it’s best to go for a walk or meditate a bit, and then come back with a better attitude and more perspective on the issue at hand.

9. Make sure that solo time is respected.

Everyone needs “alone” time to recharge and just escape from the world at large, and if that’s intruded upon, it creates frustration and irritation: two ingredients that do not create a healthy environment for communication. Always ask the other person if it’s a good time to talk, if they seem to be engrossed in solo time, and establish that you need to be asked as well. Additionally, if you’ve planned a block of time in which you really just want to be left alone, let others know: they’re not mind readers.

10. Use “I” or “Me” statements when broaching difficult subjects.

If you’re frustrated or upset about a situation or behaviour, try to avoid being accusatory—that will just result in the other person getting defensive and bristly. Instead of beginning a sentence with “You really upset me when…”, start with “I felt really upset when…”, as that puts the focus on you and allows them to contemplate the actions that caused your reaction, rather than feeling as though they’re being attacked.

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Don’t hesitate to let the other person know if you ever feel uncomfortable or awkward broaching a topic as well: acknowledging that you feel weird about it can diffuse a lot of tension, and actually make them more receptive to discussing it, which ends up being better for everyone in the long run.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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