People don’t always interpret the things you say in the way you intend them to; they often have to work to find a way to effectively communicate with the other person.
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When you communicate, you try one thing, and adjust if it doesn’t work.
For the last month, I’ve been going through a self-improvement program called The School of Inner Beauty; roughly two weeks ago, I started working with a life coach. I’m blessed to have had these ladies in my life who are willing to help me.
Any transformational process comes with baggage and pain. I had to address the elephant in the room on the first day; both the director of the program and my coach kicked off their work with me by working on forgiveness.
When you’re working on shifting your beliefs, many of which were formed in childhood, it’s scary; you don’t want to leave the comfort of familiarity, no matter how much you might say, “I want (fill-in-the-blank). A better life, more self-esteem, whatever it is that you want.
I almost called the director of the program I enrolled in while I was doing the first “homework” (which was to write a letter to the parent that had wronged you from the perspective of the parent in order to shift and view them with compassion) and told her I wanted out because it was so difficult. Everything that I was writing in that letter pretending to be my parent, seemed wrong, phony, and came off as an excuse to me. If anything, it generated more anger.
Doing this program has emphasized one thing for me: what works for others may not work for you, especially when you’re trying to explain something to someone. Writing the letter to my parents from their perspective didn’t help me. But writing a letter as myself to my parents expressing my anger (something my coach asked me to do for “homework”) did.
Shifting your intent with an exercise can help shift your perspective. When my coach asked me to write letters to my family for homework, my immediate thought was, “I’ve already done this for School of Inner Beauty and it didn’t work. Why would I want to do that again?” She asked me to express my anger in those letters instead of trying to pretend to be my parent in order to try to be more compassionate toward them.
Both of these ladies asked me to do the same thing, but they had completely different intentions with those letters; therefore, I got something different out of each exercise.
Even if you ask clarification questions, there are times when you just don’t get it. This is when re-framing a question to present a new perspective or finding someone who has a belief system similar to yours can help you. It’s not the easiest thing; I’m still working on it personally.
Which techniques have you found most effective when you’re trying to communicate with people who have different perspectives? Let me know in the comments below!