Updated: Jun 19
The changes we are experiencing globally have effectively altered the way we relate to each other, highlighting the importance of human connection, and bringing to surface issues such as loneliness and poor communication.
Before the world took a turn from a fast-paced life to ‘the new normal’ , time advocated to think, analyse and improve our human dynamic of communication within our the members of our households was limited, and more often than not, conflicts were swept under the carpet, covered by work commitments, pub/club outings, and/ or blamed on lack of time. But once COVID-19 pushed the world to a halt, the cracks within relationships started to show, forcing families and couples to face unresolved conflicts and expectations. Feeling invisible to partners, misunderstood by the family and dramatic differences in core values were no longer possible to ignore, once the usual avoidance routes were cut out.
In many cases, this situation brought things to a halt, forcing resolutions born out of difficult , often painful conversations.
Nonetheless, isolation also brought with it other, more positive aspects, such as a greater sense of appreciation for things we took for granted like going out for a coffee, or to the movies, or seeing people in our lives we were too busy to visit. We postponed many of things for 'tomorrow' and that tomorrow was complete unexpected, but it opened channels for heart-to-heart conversations,helped us to dive into our shadows, and helped us to appreciate the beauty of nature again. We learnt a tough lesson: do not take anyone or anything for granted.
Once our work and our private life collision in the same space, our homes, personal issues and work related problems sipped into each other., and in this new territory , it was no longer possible to ignore problems in our relationships dynamics.
The scenario also brought us the opportunity to correct our life scripts and make adjustments, it nudged us into a different direction, and we started to sort conflicts in an internal process that gathered momentum; getting in the way meant to get trampled by our fears and emotion. The safest option left to us was to go with it, getting out of your own way.
Building strong foundations for better communication enriches our relationships with family, partners and friends, this is paramount for healthy living, and for our growth as conscious human beings. It is important to find guidelines in this new aspect of our self development as we are navigating unchartered waters, below are five suggestions to implement safe, non-judgemental spaces to express our feelings and concerns in a compassionate manner, You can apply these when talking to family members and/or partners..
1. Find a space/time free of interruptions. Make sure that your physical space is decluttered as this will help to declutter your thoughts. Agree beforehand to respect your turns to speak without interruptions. T
2. Avoid blaming. Take responsibility for your actions and speak from your point of view, not projecting your thoughts in the other. Avoid false expectations. Think in the effect your words will have before you speak.
3. Listen with an open heart. We normally deflect responsibility and blame others for our emotions; stay calm, breathe, listen and resist the temptation to antagonize or correct the other.
4. Recognise unhealthy patterns. Unhealthy relationships are detrimental to the sense of self and stop us from moving forward in life. Ignoring damaging patterns will not make them disappear, and it might only delay your own healing.
5. Appreciate the opportunity to grow, avoid judgements, and reflect in the actions you will take with a sense of compassion. This will close the conversation on a high note, leaving a fertile and safe ground to continue developing assertive communication.
Be patience with yourself and others, changes take time. Plan realistically achievable steps to build a safe communication bubble, and ideally put aside 1 hour daily for a heart-to-heart. If this is not possible, agree on a time during the weekend and prepare a loving, cozy environment to honour your talk. Avoid the temptation to solve a lifetime of mental programming in one long, tiresome conversation.
Finally, remember to take one small action after every conversation. One step at the time, small steps will take you far.
Sandra Codd. NLP Life coach.
The Art of compassionate resilience.