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5 Most Important Communication Strategies For Any Relationship

5 Most Important Communication Strategies For Any Relationship

Communication is the cornerstone in any relationship. It is a foundation of utmost importance and is something that often needs to be learned, polished and practiced over time. Fortunately, there are basic strategies that can be used in any relationship to help improve connections and head off devastation before it starts. Effective communication in relationships only help strengthen bonds between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, life partners, spouses and friends.

You Don’t Need To Be Right

We think if we can get the other person to see our point of view and agree with us, then we will be happy and our relationship will be what we’ve always wished it to be: heaven on earth, right? Well, not exactly. The key is to be able to have an exchange of ideas and words that will be heard, understood, and reciprocated between two people. We think if we simply repeat ourselves or tell the other person what we need from him or her with a little more vigor, then he or she will finally get it.

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Being Indirect Never Works

Some of us use more subtle hints, like passive aggressive behaviors to get the other person to listen and understand us. I once remember counseling a lady who said, “I was hoping my husband would read my journal I left it open on the bed, so he would know how I feel.” She could not bring herself to tell him directly in an open, honest communication session what she needed from him and in turn learn what he needed from her. It may be a little frightening at first, but with time and practice, two people can learn to use these strategies with little effort. Let’s take a look at some ways you can help your relationship succeed.

The 5 Strategies:

Listen to what your partner is saying: How often is it when you are in the midst of a conversation with your partner, that instead of listening to him or her, you are thinking of a rebuttal. There is nothing more frustrating than talking with someone about an important topic and he or she is busy playing with nails, looking around the room (or worse at the TV), or appear to be daydreaming. Use body language such as leaning in to listen, making eye contact, and nodding. Of course, really being interested in what they have to say could be of some importance, don’t you agree?

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Refrain from using blame statements. This may take practice. How often is it that when you are in the heat of anger you put your foot in your mouth and wish you could take your words back. Often your statements can come across as accusatory simply because you say things like, “You always” or “You don’t.” Instead, try saying something like “I feel important to you when you spend time with me doing…” These statements help to quell arguments and open up lines of communication.

It is important to calm down (sometimes in isolation) before talking about issues. Some of us like to nip things in the bud right away. I understand, but it can do more harm than good if you jump into a discussion about your needs while in the midst of anger. If you feel you must leave the situation to calm down, try and tell your partner that is why you are leaving, and the issue will be discussed at a later time.

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Choose an appropriate time and place to discuss your concerns. There’s nothing like talking about sexual issues just before or after sex to spoil the mood; wouldn’t you agree? Try setting a neutral time and place (not the bedroom) to discuss issues of any kind, especially sex. For non-romantic relationships, this works also. For example, don’t try and discuss a problem before a family outing or get together. This will only serve to reinforce your disdain for family functions. Setting an appropriate time and place to discuss issues in any relationship is vital in order to prevent negative associations with what should be joyous occasions.

Ask questions and be attentive. This will allow your partner to feel you are attempting to find a solution and you sincerely care for him or her. A good rule of thumb is to ask questions such as, “What do you need from me in order to feel important in this relationship?”

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I hope you find these communication strategies helpful in your relationships and remember practice makes perfect!

Featured photo credit: Relationships/Morgue via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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