By Rena Greenberg
“Speak from your heart to his heart instead of from your mind to his mind.”—Rori Raye
“I haven’t talked to my husband in three days,” my friend, Judy, confided in me. I couldn’t imagine living in the same space with someone and not speaking to him. On the other hand, when I was growing up, yelling and screaming wasn’t the least bit uncommon in my family.
It’s widely understood that one of the most important keys to a successful marriage or a close personal relationship is good communication. In my own experience, that’s easier said than done, but, after more than 30 years of being in relationship with my husband, I have finally learned to communicate effectively. Today, my definition of good communication is that it gets me the results I desire—peace, love, and happiness.
Here are 10 tips I learned along the way:
- Communicate from the heart, not the ego.
It’s so easy to blurt out all the demands of your ego, but that is not likely to be an effective strategy for building a strong and loving relationship. Instead, take a moment to connect to your own heart, sense your true needs, and determine what information is best and most appropriate to express.
- Be polite.
I used to think politeness was all about saying “please” and “thank you.” But I came to see that it’s much more. Being polite is honoring your partner, or whomever you are speaking to, and holding that human being in the highest respect before you say anything.
- Be curious.
Having grown up with a lot of rage, my first reaction tended to be anger. The best advice I ever got was to come from a place of curiosity rather than irritation. “What makes you say that?” is a great place to start. “Hmm, that’s an interesting perspective,” is another.
- Watch your tone.
Surely you’ve heard that 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. It takes a lot of conscious restraint to check your tone of voice and body language when you are feeling annoyed, betrayed, or any other difficult emotion. Raising your voice will only put the other person on the defensive. The recipient will feel attacked and most likely will defend or withdraw. Both of those outcomes are likely to simply increase your suffering.
Hold off on talking too much and, instead, engage your listening skills. Do not just wait for your turn to give a rebuttal. Rather, listen, not just with your ears but also with your heart. Try to understand how your partner is feeling. Engage fully with eye contact and nonverbal cues, such as nodding, to let your partner know he or she is being understood and not judged.
- Take a look at your own energy.
Open your awareness to consider the impact of your own energy. How does it feel to be on the receiving end of your energy? Is your energy too aggressive, weak, dominating, subservient, confused, negative, or needy? It takes courage to look at yourself, and it’s important to do so without judgment. Seeing your own impact on another person will open the door of compassion and allow you both to walk through.
- Start over.
It’s OK to say you are sorry and to forgive someone. Ask your partner if he or she would be willing to let the grievance go and start over. If that individual is willing, a beautiful practice is to hold hands or sit close and pray to release negativity and embrace a new beginning—a sacred marriage of deep love and respect.
- Watch your emotions.
For years I followed the advice that it’s a good thing to share my feelings. I was told that someone who’s in relationship with you should accept you exactly as you are. The reality is that it’s difficult for people to handle negativity—no matter how much they love you. I found it much more helpful to acknowledge my own feelings, process them, and contain them—and then speak from a much wiser, softer place to get my needs met.
- Communicate for results.
Speak based on the results you desire. You’re much more likely to get the outcome you desire if you communicate with awareness of your energy and emotions, and lead with the wisdom and compassion of your heart. Hold the other gently, in your heart, as you communicate.
- Look into the heart of your beloved partner, family member, or friend.
You’re not the only sensitive person in the room. Someone’s behavior may be painful to you. It may feel completely unjust. However, that person is trying to get his or her needs met. Open your inner vision to see your loved one as a small, needy child.
The Big Picture
Remember to let your loved one know verbally and nonverbally that you love, respect, appreciate, and honor him or her. As a Course in Miracles advises, see that person’s deviant behavior as a call for love and respond in kind. Draw on the deep inner strength of your Spirit to always convey that love and kindness, no matter how hurt you may feel in the physical.
The bottom line: When you follow these 10 Tips, you will increase your happiness. For years I thought I needed to be right, rather than happy. But then I woke up. I learned that by putting out positive energy—even if that meant overcoming negativity on my own side—I was guaranteed to get back more love and appreciation than I ever could have imagined. I realized that respect begets respect, and I truly began to see my marriage as a beautiful spiritual path and a journey of deep healing and growth.
Remember, when we change the way we communicate, we can change the responses we receive and experience more positive outcomes. I leave you with this quote from my first teacher of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”
Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at http://www.EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World, The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “Easy Willpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype.