It’s important to learn our communication style and turn any ineffective or destructive ways of speaking into a more loving form of communication.
We might start by asking ourselves the following questions in order to increase our awareness:
• Am I kind and considerate when I express myself?
• Do I dominate a conversation, or do I actually listen to others, too?
• Am I a know-it-all who steamrolls over other people?
• Am I open-minded enough to respect the viewpoints of others even if they differ from my own?
Too many times, insensitive communicators will point a finger at those they hurt and dismiss their feelings by labeling them as being “too sensitive.” Meanwhile, they ignore the fact that the way they communicate is hurtful and that they are being insensitive. For instance, I’ve heard people in a relationship say that they’re “not responsible” for their partner’s feelings, as if they’re washing their hands of any culpability for how they communicate.
We may not be responsible for others’ feelings, but we are responsible for what we say and the way in which we do so. When we’re compassionate with ourselves, we’re more likely to have compassion for others and communicate accordingly. We’re also more likely to allow others to express themselves and offer understanding rather than putting them down with sarcasm, superiority, or tactlessness.
Empathetic support creates a healing atmosphere for all concerned. However, it is important to be careful not to become too enmeshed in other people’s moods or emotions, and lose our own stability along the way. For example, it’s not uncommon to react to someone’s downcast mood by becoming depressed yourself.
We need to retain, as best we can, our own emotional equilibrium. By staying strong without being unkind, we’re better able to help others regain their balance. And, we will be more open to listening intently and giving advice when asked, which can serve to help others move through the nature of their upset.
In this way, the person who is having a challenge doesn’t end up feeling guilty about, or responsible for, our feelings and stifle their own as a result. This loving detachment is a wonderful way to keep us feeling good and helping those around us at the same time.
Pay attention to the way you communicate: your tone, words, and delivery. If there’s even a question about how your words are received, simply clarify this confusion with the other person. Then, you can discern whether there are any misunderstandings and clear them up, rather than letting things fester.