We can all fall into bad habits in our communication with others, especially with those we are close to. I do it myself. I have a bad habit of finishing others’ sentences, which I am conscious of and guard against, not always successfully. We tailor the way that we speak to try to second-guess what the other wants.
Why? We fear their misunderstanding, their rejection if we get it wrong, that they will pull away.
This is an example of acting in ways that put a priority on the other’s experience rather than our own. It is our head getting in the way and telling us the old stories of how we should be if we want others to like us, rather than living our truth.
So, how do we change our patterns?
Using “I” sentences
First, we need to use sentences that express how we feel and what we want. These sentences start with “I”. “I want…”. “I feel…”
They don’t start with “You”. “You should…”. Would you like to…?”
Our expression of ourselves and our needs and wants should be just that. When we allow ourselves to express what is true for us, then we open the door to truth and to the other experiencing who we really are, rather than the front we put on to try to impress.
Not Making Assumptions
My pattern of finishing others’ sentences falls into this category. While I may do it from an urge to demonstrate that I am fully with the person who is speaking and fully understanding them, in fact I am assuming that I know what they are thinking.
We can also make assumptions about how people will respond to what we say. This leads to us choosing our words in ways which we think will please them rather than being fully present with what we wish to express.
Our assumptions are created in our minds. In the part of us that lives in fear and tries to make us safe, while in fact closing us to the essence of our truth.
So instead of making assumptions, I suggest that you…..
Check Out Your Understanding
If something isn’t making sense, or you are not sure of what the other means, you can ask.
This simple way of finding out whether you have understood is powerful. Rather than sitting with your interpretation of what the other is thinking or feeling, you have the chance to find out directly.
If you are still not sure of what the other means, summarise your understanding to them. And ask them to confirm that you have understood, or to expand on their meaning.
This approach, of checking that you have understood something means that you can respond to what has been said rather than to what you assume may have been said.
Say What You Mean
Finally, be clear. Say what you mean rather than what you think the other may be expecting or wanting. Don’t hide your meaning in stories or say only part of what you need to express. Avoid the temptation to keep back something that may be difficult or which you fear may be hard for the other to hear. Allow your truth to shine in your words and be ready to explain further if that is needed.
Where the subject you are talking about is important, then you may need some time to think into exactly what you want to say. If so, take the time you need. Perhaps tell the other that you need time to get your words straight.
Be open to expressing yourself.
I’d love to know what other tips you have to make communication better with your lover. Please leave a comment.
Tantra Coach: Sex and Relationship Coaching for Individuals and Couples