My dear friends,
This week I want to talk about communication, and why I think many, many of our problems could be mitigated or lessened if we mastered it in an aligned way.
The other day I was catching up with a friend, who was telling a story about how she felt a bit frantic about the uncertainty of our lives. She specifically was upset about the lack of communication in her work, as far as scheduling, working from home, and the fear of staying employed. We chatted about it all and I completely resonated and empathized with everything she was saying, and I know so many of us are going through very similar emotions. The one thing that stuck out to me in a major way, was just how big the communication piece was for her in this very difficult time. Her employer was not communicating with her at all, which caused her to write her own stories, and stew in her own anxiety, with no answers or clarity.
As we know life can feel difficult and confusing, but with the intention to communicate clearly, regularly, and with aligned intention, we can start to feel a deeper sense of power, purpose, and certainty.
From my own personal life experience, I notice a world of difference within myself when I practice mindful communicating skills. So often our issues stem from small miscommunications that grow to be major life problems, and I think it’s empowering to know that we can set the intention to communicate better, clearer and in a kind way, we can start to feel more at peace and in control of the lives we lead.
I’ve pieced together 10 helpful tips to remember when seeking to be a better communicator. I rely on these on a regular basis, and I hope they can come in handy for you, too!
- Know who you are and what you want: If you’re unclear from the inside out, the outside probably won’t ever feel truly aligned! When faced with any sort of interaction, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of who you are, and what your true desires are. Clarity is a key component of communication.
- Say what you mean, and don’t play games: Too often we are afraid to say what we actually mean, for fear of negative retribution, but when we aren’t 100% clear with our words, things go haywire anyways. It’s always best to say what you mean, and avoid word gimmicks that try to manipulate a person or a situation.
- Be intentional with your words: How many times have you said something without thinking and immediately regretted it. Our words are powerful, and it’s really easy for things come out of our mouths without fully thinking of what they mean and what they represent. Try to be aware and mindful of what you’re saying, the words you’re using, and the intention behind them. You’ll feel must more in control of your conversations when you know fully that you always mean what you say.
- Be present in every interaction: So much miscommunication comes from not being present to our own interactions. There have been countless times that I’ve gotten myself into a hairy situation or argument because I wasn’t fully paying attention to an important conversation, and missed a needed detail. Being present not only saves you time, it lets the other person or group of people know that you care and that you value the time spent in dialogue. Your relationships with colleagues and loved ones will begin to flourish when you provide your presence.
- Take responsibility: Being responsible for proper communication has been a big one for me personally. There have been many times when I have sensed that a person I’m in conversation with, and I, are not actually on the same page, and we begin talking without addressing the confusion, hoping it might simply, magically, sort itself out. Waiting for someone else to clarify a situation is pretty frustrating and time consuming. If you sense that thoughts and words aren’t clear, take it upon yourself to reach out, speak up, in whatever form of communication needed, to clear the air, and set up a solid foundation for that communication and relationship to flourish.
- Ask questions: There’s a meme on social media of a person who, in conversation, asks “what?” so many times before finally giving up and not ever getting the answer to the question. I tend to be that person, but the truth is, asking questions brings clarity. If there are pieces of your conversational puzzle that don’t make sense, it’s on you to ask for more detail and clarity! You are not wrong, and you are not an inconvenience when you ask for more information in any circumstance.
- It’s okay to be vulnerable: We are all human beings, with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensitivities. Think about this when communicating with someone else. When we enter a situation with armor and an ironclad wall around us, we get that type of communication in return. Breaking down barriers, by being vulnerable is a wonderful way to connect with someone, and often times, will bring about a deeper, more meaningful relationship.
- Tell the truth: It has become increasingly more clear to me how much I really dislike lying: any version of it. So when I sense someone isn’t telling the full truth, or is pitching a half-truth, or is straight up telling no version of the truth, I shut down. I can’t take it. Telling the truth, even when it’s hard, is a sign of respect. The truth might not always be an easy pill to swallow, but I guarantee it is always worthwhile.
- Know that sometimes it’s time to be silent and listen: In many cases, interactions require silence, where we can step back, contemplate, marinate, and then speak again. There have been so many times in my life where I wish I had taken moments of silence to collect myself, rather than spewing out the first words that came to mind. Sometimes the quiet moments can feel unnerving and uncomfortable, in practice, we can start to value those in-between moments, knowing that in that stillness we can find the answers and the space in order to feel clarity in speaking again.
- Take space: In any circumstance, it is always okay to take space from a situation to collect yourself, get clear on what you want to say, and come back in a calm and composed way. I find that whenever I allow myself the space to sit, breathe, and understand, the outcomes of the situation always feel more resolved and aligned.
I hope these powerful reminders help you in life and in your communications! Remember, we are all approaching situations with our own unique circumstances and life experiences, so we will never fully see a situation with the same set of eyes, but I believe if we start to incorporate some of these tactics into our every day lives, we will see the benefits of understanding, patience, and kindness.
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org