BY DR. ATHENA STAIK
Your ability to communicate can be your greatest asset.
The choice of words and nonverbal behaviors you use in your conversations with those you love are packed with power. Too much power to leave to chance, so why not consciously access this power to positively transform your relationships?
It is through your exchange of words and nonverbal behaviors that you exercise your power to build—or to harm—nurturing, strong, and mutually beneficial couple and family relationships.
Communication is critical because it is the means by which you strengthen or weaken your relationships. In other words, what you say and, especially, how you say things matters. How you communicate, verbally and nonverbally, is often the key to unlocking the power you have to transform your life and relationships.
How you communicate is also essential to the exercise of how you choose to exercise your personal power, how you respond to what is happening around you, events in your life and relationships, to best fulfill you own core (hard-wired) emotional drives. What are these? You are wired with inner emotional drives for safety, belonging, love, esteem, fun, contribution, and purpose, among others, an overarching drive to matter and meaningfully connect. In other words, you are not just wired to live, you are wired to love and feel valued in meaningful ways.
Communication is also the means with which you show others you care about them, and a major way to show we care is to convey respect for their perspective, unique contributions, or concerns. Pause for a moment to reflect on how strongly you yearn for others to treat you this way. These emotional drives are shared and universal. You convey your respect for others by how you listen to them when they talk. Since core inner strivings are universal values you and your loved ones share in common, knowing how to express your love and appreciation in ways that your talking and listening inspire and energize both you and your loved ones’ best efforts, with hope and belief in one another, is really, really important. The bottom line is that: when the significant others in your life feel you value them as individuals, they are more likely to open their hearts to cooperatively working together with you. Do you know how to inspire enthusiasm in those you love?
Conscious Listening and Conscious Talking ?
Conscious-Love Communication is a way to talk and listen that focuses on protecting and nurturing the health of your most cherished relationships. A key factor that protects your relationships is how you treat yourself and others in your interactions, particularly when discussing painful issues. Honoring one another’s dignity, even when you and your loved ones get triggered, makes it more likely that you will remain consciously engaged and connected in the process. The conscious use of communication, ultimately, is in each person’s highest benefit. It unlocks doors to more easily and effortlessly realize what you need from one another, while simultaneously avoiding what you do not want, such as energy wasting struggles or forceful demands, and other defensive behaviors.
When you honor the need in yourself to be treated with dignity, you also honor the need in the other to be treated with dignity. In all, this is a choice to access your power to consciously protect and nurture your relationship. And, the building of a strong and secure relationship is what makes it more likely you can influence the other to respond to your requests, wants, and yearnings.
Conscious-Love™ talking involves the conscious use of your voice, words, touch, eye contact, and other non-verbal ways of communication to consciously nurture and to preserve the relationship.
Talking is your opportunity to authentically share your experience of life with others; hopefully, in a way that increases the chance that you will also feel heard and understood. You do this when your choice of words and body language honor the dignity of each person involved in the interaction. This makes it more likely the other does not get triggered or defensive, thus, the person is able to stay engaged in the communication.
You yearn for love and connection with your partner, and you are also hard-wired to strive to be known, to be understood, and to be recognized for the unique perspective and value you bring to life and those you love. The yearning to be appreciated, loved, and valued—regardless any limitations or mistakes, or even talents and successes—is a strong impulse within each of us.
It signals a reminder that genuine love is a two-way street.