The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. –Tony Robbins
One of the top reasons couples seek therapy is lack of communication. Talking with your partner seems like it should be the easiest thing to do, yet it can feel like half of what you say never gets through to him/her. You say something, and your partner misunderstands or hears something different. Next thing you know, both of you become frustrated and the arguing begins.
I find that when I am not being heard or I fail to get my point across, it usually means I need to take a step back and evaluate not only what I’m saying but how I am saying it…and the emotions behind it.
Four factors that may be affecting the way you communicate with others:
- Strong emotions: It’s difficult to discuss important matters when you are emotionally vulnerable or angry. These are not the times to begin a conversation. It’s best to give yourself some time to think or cool down before going to your partner.
- Lack of focus: Being distracted during a conversation can sometimes steer it towards an argument. You should try to keep the conversation on topic and in the here and now. Bringing up old topics or even old arguments will most likely lead to getting off track and more arguing.
- Body language: Communication entails more than just spoken words. Body language plays a big part in what our partner hears. Nonverbal communication takes place in the tone of your voice, eye contact, gestures, or even how close you stand to the other person.
- Not listening: Active listening involves not thinking about what you are going to say next, but listening to what the other person is saying. A good way to know if you heard what was said is to rephrase it in your own words.
Effective communication isn’t easy, but we can all work to be better communicators. It only takes one person making an effort to improve the conversation. If you feel that you are not communicating what you need to say or not being heard the way you would like to be heard, a therapist can help you find your voice. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.