Sara Aloimonos. Photo Courtesy of Monarch Coaching

Sara Aloimonos. Photo Courtesy of Monarch Coaching

It happens all the time in relationships and is a tough cycle to break. The fear of communication. The fear of being ridiculed for your opinions, needs, and feelings. Fear of rejection or losing your partner, friend or family member. Don’t be afraid. You’ll only dishonour your SELF by backing down from a situation you feel strongly about. I’ve been in this exact place. Communicating my needs, being ridiculed and shamed for even having needs which caused me to clam up and resentment to build.

Communication in a relationship is foundational.

This relationship may be with your partner, child, friend, family member, or co-worker. Positive communication is essential for a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship. It creates emotional intimacy, the base for strong connection, allows a trusting, honest relationship to develop and solidify, plus, avoids resentment.

You can share feelings, opinions and expectations plus feel safe doing it as vulnerability is displayed and trust is built.

Good communication looks like active listening, having your feelings validated, respecting opinions and asking questions.

If conversation is interrupted, passive aggressive behaviour emerges, you feel like you’re tiptoeing around, and your feelings are dismissed, it’s time to do some deeper work.

Both parties definitely need to be open to being vulnerable and finding a solution to problems as a unit. With more positively received vulnerability comes trust and encouragement for more honest conversations.

Some helpful ways you can effectively resolve issues in relationships are:

How it’s done

To effectively resolve relationship issues via well articulated communication, you should process your feelings ahead of time. This allows for space to dissect the situation and for your true feelings to emerge. The feelings that stay strongly with you are the ones to focus on and bring into the conversation. When planning to ‘host’ a meeting, have good timing! Nobody wants to be targeted the moment they walk in the door. Agree on a time to sit down with the other party and ensure both your moods are relaxed and non-defensive. Lastly, starting any conversation off with a ‘you’ statement will surely end in a defensive stance and closed off communication. ‘You’ sends the message that it’s solely the other person’s fault. Instead, use ‘I’ statements. ‘I need,’ ‘I want,’ ‘I feel.’ This communicates your desires without coming off as attacking the other party. An example may be ‘I feel like I’m not being heard.’ Versus, ‘you never listen to me.’ Which ones feels more like an attack?

You may face somebody who is completely closed to effective and equal communication. This can be difficult if not impossible. Consider taking the leap and lead by example. This can demonstrate your commitment to solving issues in a reasonable manner. If the other party still doesn’t budge, consider seeking outside help from a life coach, counsellor, or mediator. Sometimes a neutral person is what’s needed and deep seated triggers to be resolved.

– Sara Aloimonos is a life coach and functional nutritionist based in Yellowknife.

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