I recently surveyed my newsletter subscribers. I do this periodically to make sure that I am offering products and services that support them. One of the questions that I posed was, “What is your greatest relationship challenge?” And 50 percent of the participants answered, "ineffective communication." Does this surprise you?
The other interesting part of the survey was that 72 percent of the respondents are divorced. Now let’s think about this just for a minute. First let us take a look at the definition of communication. Dictionary.com defines communication as “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information…”. Seems simple enough right? It seems to me that in order to communicate effectively all we need to do is share our thoughts or opinions.
So why is it the most difficult thing to do in a relationship? I mean, shouldn’t this be the place where it is the easiest to communicate -- after all, this is the person we love and feel safe with, right? Isn’t that what a partnership is all about? But it is also the place where we feel the most vulnerable -- maybe that has something to do with it, too.
Could it be then that fear is the culprit? Is it possible that we are afraid of communicating our feelings? We can be afraid of many things in a relationship: rejection, being ridiculed, being misunderstood, feeling stupid, being seen as inadequate, being seen as a failure, being seen as a loser.
Can you relate to any of these feelings (or maybe you have some of your own)?
The key thing to remember here is that no one can make you feel a certain way without your permission. So, don’t give them permission! I know that sounds easier said then done, but it is the truth. The second important thing to remember is that the only way you ever give someone permission to make you feel a certain way is because, at some level, you believe it about yourself, too.
The solution to ineffective communication is ridding yourself of the fear that is stopping you from sharing your feelings, your opinions, and your thoughts. The way to do this is to learn how to love yourself unconditionally. Unconditional love allows you to see yourself as perfect in every way, being kind to yourself and not being judgmental. Yes, you have flaws or things that you don’t like about yourself, but by loving yourself unconditionally you can either accept those flaws or be kind enough to yourself to find a way to make changes that allow you to improve your areas of weakness, without judgment.