Relate AND Communicate!
When it comes to women and relationships, the relationship is always top of mind. Yet what happens when the relationship dynamic is not an active part of the communication process? All efforts to bond are lost. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between communicating for the sole purpose of imparting information and communicating for the purpose of creating closeness in relationship. Today, I am focusing on communicating for the purpose of relating and creating closeness in relationships.
To build a relationship connection, while communicating, it is important to keep a focus on the relationship bond while talking, or listening. For many of us, this is very hard to do because it takes a little extra effort. Mindfulness is key.
Practice what you preach. I created the intent to practice “moments” of being relational when my husband was communicating/talking with me. My endeavor was not easy at first. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is relate. Most often when I walk through the door, tired, I just want to check out. Fortunately, my husband misses me and wants to relate, have my attention, talk. Often, his attempts to reach me happen when we have settled in for the night and are watching TV. Relaxed in my chair, I like having him sitting in his chair next to me. Sometimes, he needs more. So, I started to practice some of the tips I pass on to my clients.
When he starts to talk, I do the following: I consciously tell myself that I am going to take a moment to nurture the relationship bond I have with him. I do this by reminding myself that I chose to be in relationship with him and to thrive relationship connections need nurturing. I bring to mind that he is another person, separate from me, who needs my attention. To have the relationship I want, I need to see him and acknowledge this fact even though it feels emotionally inconvenient at the moment. To be honest, at times it actually feels downright annoying. When this occurs I bring to the forefront of my mind my overall choice to be in relationship. I tell myself relationship requires more than communicating an unauthentic one-word response to his comments.
Fortified with these reminders I purposefully put a smile in my heart and on my face. I turn my whole body towards him. The action of my turning most often gets his attention. When he sees the smile in my eyes, he slows down. My smiling eyes have a big impact. Some part of him realizes he is not talking into thin air. His tone changes and I can actually witness his energetically coming into a relationship with me. Satisfied we have connected his need for talking, communicating appears to lessen.
This is only one tiny aspect of the closeness that can occur when you set your mind to strengthen your capacity to be relational, to practice the power of feminine presence.
If you are single…. practice the principles above, while on a date. Learn to let go of your agenda for getting a relationship and just practice being in relationship with the person you are with. Of course, this means leaving your “perfect man for me” checklist in your purse. When you are open, it is easier to make a decision about whether or not YOU want to pursue the relationship. Maybe you will find out, that while being on the date and relating, there was not enough connection to pursue. You know that you are not interested in taking the time to do the work of turning your chair around….so to speak. This information is key and will help you make the decision to say yes, or no, to the next invitation that is bound to come.
Some extra thoughts to ponder… Think about where you fit into this.
Many people are fantastic communicators. They are articulate with their words as well as their physical presence command attention. Yet, when it comes down to it, do they capture the heart and full attention of their listener? Or, does their form of communicating make their listener feel more like they are someone in an audience observing the show of a talking head? This is most definitely not an example of relating and communicating. In fact, it reminds me of making a sandwich and leaving out the main ingredients which are supposed to nourish you. More on this topic later.
I would like to be in relationship with you. Please share your thoughts with me.
Joan Shaver, LMFT
Be Bold Be Beautiful Be True to Yourself