Remember the commercial with the guy who always said: “Can you hear me now?”? As I sat down to begin this blog this line is the first thing that came to my mind. I have been wanting to do a two-part blog series on communication and conflict resolution. However, as I sat down to begin writing about effective communication, I remembered that listening is the most important step in learning how to communicate well with others. Listening well and responding appropriately allows us to connect with others, not only intellectually, but emotionally through the medium of language.
Forgive me for using another TV analogy, but I remember watching a famous family drama a few years ago in which an older married couple went to marriage counseling. In the show, their characters were arguing frequently and both of them were feeling misunderstood and somewhat ignored as well—especially the wife. The therapist gave them a homework assignment to help them learn to better listen to one another. The therapist told the husband that for one week—whenever his wife shared something personal or emotionally charged—his only response should be, “I see you and I hear you.” I might add that he was also supposed to use appropriate body language, facial expression and tone inflection when delivering this message. I can remember him in the show stopping what he was doing, gently going over to her, looking her lovingly in the eyes and saying that single phrase. And it was powerful.
We all want resolution to our problems whatever those problems may be. Sometimes there are obvious solutions to our problems and sometimes there are not. But no matter what our problems, we all want to feel that those we love “see and hear” us in our pain. And we don’t have to be “suffering” to want to feel heard either. Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel heard in all of your relationships—especially when making big decisions? Whether you are deciding with your partner to buy a car or have a baby, possessing and using good communication skills so that everyone feels heard and understood is an amazing skill that promotes peace and resolution in such important decision making processes.
Communication skills are vital in every type of relationship we have. It is a wonderful thing to feel like we can appropriately communicate our wants and needs to others with calmness and dignity. And it is perhaps even more beautiful to give the “gift of being heard and seen” to others. This does not mean we will always agree with what the other person thinks or feels; however, it does mean we are able to empathetically step outside of ourselves long enough to try and imagine another person’s perspective—a skill we all hope others will use when it comes to understanding our thoughts and feelings.
If you are struggling in a relationship be it personal or professional, a trained and licensed Orlando psychotherapist can help you. She can help you identify your specific needs and then learn and practice the communication skills necessary in order to have the most effective and fulfilling relationships possible. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.