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What Stands in the Way of Clear Communication

Communication is an art to pay attention to and nurture and a crucial life tool that can cause a lot of harm if not handled correctly. Whether you're busy multitasking, or perhaps you've 'heard it all before,' when someone speaks, are you truly listening?

Giving someone the space to feel comfortable and able to talk is essential. When someone speaks, take a breath, step back, and listen. Don't cut them off with what you think is the correct response, pause. Communication in any relationship is a gift yet can also be a curse.

Don Miguel Ruiz, a spiritual teacher, is the author of "The Four Agreements," a masterful piece on communication. A book I've had for years and refer to from time to time, these agreements are simple to understand and can make a significant difference in your happiness and relationships.

  • Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word.

  • Agreement 2: Don't Take Anything Personally.

  • Agreement 3: Don't Make Assumptions.

  • Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best.

How much attention do you pay to your inner voice? It's there for a reason. Have you ever walked out the door and thought, "I turned off the coffee pot, right?" To return to see indeed, you did not. Or perhaps you've got the inclination that you needed to call a friend, and when you spoke, they broke down sobbing over something that had happened. You were there just when they needed it.

A few things to consider:

  • Don't assume you know what someone else will say, even if it appears you've heard it before.

  • Have an open mind, take a deep breath if needed, and listen.

  • How are you speaking to others? "Now, you need to listen to me!" Guess what? They just tuned out. Tone and presentation go a long way.

  • Pick the right time to discuss ( i.e., don't try and talk to your husband when he's weed-whacking about how difficult it's been to have your Mom take her medicine)—a recipe for disaster.

You don't always know what is happening with someone else, and especially in caregiving, your loved one might not want to hear you 'telling' them what to do again, so it is essential to be mindful of how you phrase things.

Communication is key - keep your heart and your ears open. Be patient with yourself, too.

Hugs, Cyndi Mariner

Breathing Spaces

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