I’m excited to dive into today’s introspection post because communication is such an important life skill to master. I have long spoken about compassionate/nonviolent communication here, and while I will be touching on that again today, I also want to discuss other methods of communication that I prefer. I hope you all enjoy this post. Now let’s dive in. ❤
I. Learning What Type of Person You Are:
It took me years and years to finally discover that I am a highly sensitive person. For the longest time after this discovery, I had to explain to people, “No, I’m not just tender-hearted. There really is a scientific explanation for my type of personality that correlates to behaviors that I exhibit”. For example: change is difficult for me. I am very attuned to textures and visual stimulation. I can only absorb so much drama (even if it isn’t impacting me) before I feel the need to step away because I’m drained. I empathetically feel for characters in movies, and I need plenty of “me time” to just think and go deep inside of my mind. These are all classic signs of an (H.S.P.). It’s important to understand what makes you tick and the things that you need to feel happy. So, too, is it important to understand what you need to communicate effectively.
For me, I only learned how I effectively communicate after years of feeling like I couldn’t convey myself. It took me ages to understand that I communicate better one-on-one. I need calm environments where I can really focus on the other person and listen attentively. I strongly dislike sudden, loud noises that might startle me. And I feel the ebb and flow in a conversation. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to open up when I engage with someone who has a very strong personality. Usually I go quiet and simply let them take over the conversation. Whereas I am more quiet, thoughtful, and choose my words carefully. Examine what type of person you are, and what type of communication style you prefer to use. It’s important to be able to convey that to others.
II. Environment Matters to Some People:
I know some people who absolutely love going to the cinema. They enjoy amusement parks, concerts, and venues where there is pulsing energy, a large crowd, and visual sights bursting everywhere. When they need to communicate, they simply lean close and speak into the person’s ear. Then there are other people, like myself, that much prefer long walks in nature, browsing in a bookshop, taking a long drive through the country, or nestling up at home, as a place to communicate. We prefer environments that are quiet, less stimulating, and allow us to focus with ease. I encourage you to discover what type of environment you prefer when communicating with the people you care about. Self-exploration is such a healthy habit to do, and it will allow you to better understand your communication style.
III. Know What Doesn’t Work:
As I’ve met people, both in person and online, over the years I have figured out that there are different types of personalities that I just can’t connect with. Maybe you can relate to some of these?:
- The Narcissist: I’m always happy to sit back and listen to someone I find intriguing. But if a person fails to ask questions about me or my life, and all they want to do is talk about their life… I quickly begin to disengage mentally.
- The Bossy Person: As a sensitive person, I am always open to new ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. I love pondering someone else’s idea. But I do cringe when someone says, “you should” to me. Or, I’ve had people tell me, “you have to…”. Instantly my mind thinks: unless you’re my dominant, you don’t have the right to boss me around!
- The Liar: Nothing pushes me away faster than a person who lies to me. If I sense that I’m being lied to, (and we’ve all been lied to before), I usually will call it out. It’s not that I’m confrontational, but being lied to hurts… a lot. And I get really panicked if I think I’m being lied to. I’m a very no-bullshit, transparent person who values honesty and loyalty above all else.
- The Mind Gamer: While I am perceptive, there are some people that highly frustrate me because they expect me to read their mind. It’s unrealistic to expect anyone to read your mind, or know that fine isn’t fine, or good means bad, or whatever the backwards language may be. Just speak your mind and clear up the confusion.
- The Busybody: I’m going to use my mother for this example because she is a classic busybody. I’m down for exploring, and going out and about. But do I want to run myself ragged every day? Of course not. I also value having a quiet, home environment where I can nest and make a sanctuary for myself. As such, I have no desire to constantly be running around simply for the sake of getting out of the house.
IV. The Communication Method That Works for Me:
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg created a communication style called “Compassionate or Nonviolent Communication”. This style of communication revolves around three key factors:
- Empathetic listening (also referred to as “holding space”)
- Honest expression of feelings using “I feel…” statements that do not place blame on the other person.
- An exchange of dialogue fluidly in which both parties feel that they are able to convey their feelings to the fullest extent and feel heard and valued.
While it isn’t always easy to slow down to say, “hey, I need you to hold space for me” (especially with a person unfamiliar to this communication style) I do believe that it greatly helps a situation when we are able to do so. I’ve found that when I can have a positive, healthy, mature conversation with another person whom I’m in a disagreement with, the atmosphere changes completely. I begin to see things from their perspective, and the anger dissolves. Instead, I begin to empathize with their feelings, instead of worrying if they understand mine. I don’t stress if I’m able to convey myself, because when both parties practice active listening, then everyone has the chance to speak and be heard fully. I also try to use statements to ensure the other person that I hear their feelings, and that they matter to me. I will say statements such as: “I completely understand how you feel” or “I’m honored that you opened up to me. Thank you for taking the time to do so”. I want them to know that their mental and emotional health matters to me. 🙂
So, this is the communication style that I prefer. How do you communicate to the people around you? What works or doesn’t work? Comment and let me know! I’d love to hear from you. ❤ That’s it for today’s post. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you did, hit that like button and let me know, and I will see you all back here for the next topic!