Creating Atmospheres for Communication
There are only three (sometimes four) things that bring people into my office: (1) sex and Intimacy, (2) kids, (3) money and finances, and (sometimes 4) in-laws), and everyone calls it Communication!
Part of the reason that communication is so difficult is that we automatically assume what the other person is going to say, and so we keep our feelings, our thoughts, our emotions, our desires, and our beliefs to ourselves.
We may also keep things bottled up as well because we likely have tried once or twice to express ourselves and were met with resistance or perhaps change for one or two weeks and then things fall back into the old routine. We may also hold back with regards to communication due to pain, sadness, and our body’s response to stress, such as having an adrenaline rush, which we may interpret as a panic or anxiety attack.
Counselling Establishes A Safe Atmosphere For Communication
One of the biggest skill sets to be discovered in counselling, and one of the big reasons that counselling works, is that counselling establishes a safe atmosphere for communication to occur. By safe atmosphere, I am simply highlighting and outlining the optimal conditions required for successful communication to take place. Some of these conditions include simply taking deep, slow breaths while listening to what the other person is saying—and even more importantly, what they are not saying. Then, we examine all the factors that are affecting the distortion field, which is the combination of factors that distort what one person is saying and prevent the message from being effectively interpreted by the listener.
To create a safe atmosphere for both the expression and reception of emotions, ideas, and creative endeavours, I encourage my clients to remember that they are coming from a place of love, growth, and exploration. If we can remember that not all feedback is criticism, but rather opportunities for increased growth, desire, and connection, this already makes communication that much easier. Although little tricks—such as using “I feel, when you, because…” statements—can greatly help, we must remember to lower our guards and our defensiveness when communicating with those around us.
Connection, Love and Satisfaction
By practising our ability to stay cool, calm, open, and in this state of receiving, it is easier to hear what other people are telling us. When we are open to what is being said to us, we are then ready to embark on a journey of change and adventure. When we listen and absorb what the other person is saying, the other person will feel listened to, validated, and respected. When this occurs, both individuals will feel a deep sense of connection, love, satisfaction, and an increased sense of safety and well-being.
But again, to accomplish this we must make some assumptions, and we all know what people say about assume—it makes an “ass out of u and me.” However, we can at least choose the type of assumptions we want to make. For example, we can assume that our partners are trying to rip us down, change us, attack us, or engage with us from other malicious intentions. Or, we can assume that our partners are coming from a place of love, understanding, growth, and a general desire to increase overall relationship well-being.
Lastly, we can pick and choose the environments for which we decide to communicate. Do we yell and scream at each other at 11 o’clock at night when everyone is tired and trying to get ready for bed before a long work day? Or do we choose to talk on a Saturday morning after everyone is well rested, well fed, and well watered? Do we go for a walk, hand in hand, looking at each other with love as we discuss hard topics? Or do we pace around the living room, or run up and down stairs, or slam doors?
As we said on the farm,
Communication is 5% speaking, 5% listening, and the other 90% is the atmosphere in which it occurs.
Come heal, grow and create together
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