A lot of arguments stem from ineffective communication. Have you ever heard an argument being started because someone made an innocent comment to another, but the other person translated that comment in their own mind to be something that it did not mean? For example, if a husband and wife are eating dinner and the husband makes a comment to the wife about how the meat is a little dry…
H: This meat is a little dry.
W: WELL MAYBE NEXT TIME YOU CAN MAKE DINNER IF IT’S SO BAD!!! 😡
Here’s whats really going on. The husband is just making an observation, but instead of just “is a little dry” the wife (due to her own view and lack of self-esteem) in her own mind hears “you suck at cooking.”
These kinds of arguments always stem from one person mis-translating what the other person said. It’s an unconscious response and people don’t even realize that they are doing it. The wife in this situation is the one that has the thought process of “I suck at cooking” or some kind of other self-rejecting thought process – these thought processes stem from the past, regardless of it was directly related to cooking or something else. These kinds of situations can be easily dissolved though. Yes, it is the wife that is essentially doing it to herself and she is responsible for her own emotions, however, what the husband can do, rather than getting triggered himself just like the wife, he can respond in a loving compassionate and understanding way. Rather than getting triggered and do something like throwing his food out or responding angrily, he can calmly tell her that he isn’t saying that it tastes bad or that she did a bad job, and that he was just making an observation, he wasn’t making a comment about her personally or her cooking skills. He can also end it with a compliment or a simple “I love you.”
This goes for any relationship or interaction. Friendship. Co-workers. Anything.
The other way we sometimes can mis-communicate is when we try and read the other person’s mind and try to do or say what we *THINK* we want them to receive/hear. And instead of just speaking exactly and simply to what is in our minds, we tend to cheery pick one thing or the other and just go with it. Sometimes we try to be the person that we think the other person wants us to be instead of just being our pure selves. We also will assume how the other person will react, and it’s usually based on the past, and try to “mind read” and try and tell the future. Sometimes, we have inner conflict that causes us to communicate ineffectively. It can also be a mix of these things. Expectations are a part of this too.
For example, if one person wants to do something, but is unsure about it, they will sometimes communicate it ineffectively. And it always deals with a projection about how they feel about themselves based upon the past.
P: I really want to tell this person ___________, but if I do ________ will happen. (or they will react in ______ way. Or they will want __________.) I don’t think they wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say, so I’ll just be silent. (Or I don’t think they will accept what I have to say, so I will tell them what I think they want to hear).
Instead of telling the person what they want to tell them, and even just tell them the other thoughts they have about telling them that thing, they either don’t say anything at all, lie, or pick and choose what they do say. A better way to go about handling this would be to first tell the person that you want to tell them something, but you are afraid that _____________ will happen if you do. Or just tell them everything that’s inside of your mind about it, including the “buts.”
P: On one hand I feel _______________ and on the other hand I feel _____________. I don’t know which one is true. I don’t know which one to express. If I express one, then I feel like _________ will happen, if I express the other I feel like __________ will happen. I’ll just tell the person one or the other, or just not say anything at all about it, or maybe just tell them something completely different
With this one, for conflicting thoughts or feelings, the easy solution is to explain exactly the thought process that’s going on in your mind. Instead of trying to figure it out, and express one versus the other, express the conflict within yourself about it. And express the expectation that you think you would be under should you express those things, if it is a part of your thought process about it. It looks better like this:
P: I want to tell you something but I’m afraid that if I do _____ will happen. And I’m not even sure about that because on one hand I feel _________ and on the other hand I feel __________. And I feel like you will respond like __________ if i tell you _______________ and respond like __________ if I tell you ____________.
To put it simply, to communicate more effectively, just express the exact thought process that is going on in your head. Sometimes, even just a simple, “I don’t know” is better than trying to figure something out when you don’t have it figured out just because you believe that the other person wants a definitive response. You don’t know what is on someone else’s mind. You can’t tell the future, and the past is an illusion, only the present moment exists. Communicate exactly what is in your mind outward.
And remember, people first reject themselves before anyone else even gets the chance to reject them. The best way to communicate is to simply just say exactly what is on your mind in a relaxed, non-confrontational manner. Because the truth is, you don’t know how the other person will respond. You only THINK that you do.
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