Work on Communication for Healthy Relationships
Communicate Your Feelings
Discussing your feelings and needs can be difficult. However, people can only begin to understand you at a deep level if you share your feelings with them.
So go ahead and express yourself! When you don't want to talk, use a journal to explore the feelings that you have trouble communicating. This will give you some time to reflect until you are ready to talk about it.
While sharing your feelings is important, it is also crucial to actively listen. Active listening requires that you don't judge the person or the feelings and ideas being expressed.
Instead, you let the speakers know that you understand, that you appreciate the feeling behind the words, and that you accept the speaker.
It is important to see an individual as a person first, and not as a representative of a particular group. Within any given group, there is a very broad variation due to individual uniqueness. Gender, age, and cultural stereotypes are common in our society. Do the following statements sound familiar to you?
- "Oh well, he's a guy."
- "Of course she feels that way, she's a woman!"
- "He's too old for that!"
If we approach our relationships with these attitudes, thinking we have all the answers and have others figured out, we lose harmony and balance, and create an environment for competition.
Conflict management is one of the most important skills for sustaining healthy relationships. This includes clear and open communication, mutual respect, shared exploration, an orientation to collaborative problem solving, and a commitment to resolution.
Conflict management involves analyzing a situation and developing a solution that meets the needs of all concerned. Remember to actively listen and speak in a fair and balanced manner.
Do you use any of these approaches to discharge conflict?
- Physical: Take slow deep breaths, run, do some active exercises, listen to soothing music. Take a warm bath, write, or draw what you are feeling.
- Emotional: Cry, yell, or laugh.
- Mental: Change the subject or use mental imagery. Imagine yourself in a safe place with safe people. Imagine the situation being resolved in a peaceful way.
- Spiritual: Remind yourself of the oneness of humanity and of your connection with this person. Find quiet time alone to re-center. Look for the gift or the blessing this person or situation is offering you.