Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You just don't get it!

Do you ever wonder what the world would be like if we were able to understand each other clearly and effectively? I know there is so much going on in the world today that understanding of those around us in general may not be something in the forefront of your thoughts... until there’s the proverbial misunderstanding. It’s then that we realize the value of effective communication.

I have always thought of myself as a good, effective communicator. At least, I spoke what was on my mind enough, so I felt I was communicating. I had resigned myself that a successful relationship with my beloved only required that I said what I meant and meant what I said. But when you join in with another human being, who comes with his own “software” for processing language, you learn how much you still need to learn about communication.

Most of us do our best to communicate what we want and need: from a 2 year old who’s frustrated by having to repeat his words over to his mom who doesn’t understand his developing language to the wife trying to explain to her partner how tired she really is.

We all crave people in our lives that understand us, that get us? No matter how old we are we want to be understood by the people that matter to us. Our children are no exception. They are learning new lessons every day: they are learning to write, they are learning to ride a bike, they are learning to walk in the world as the little people they are. I know that as they navigate all these new experiences, they also want to know that we get how they get frustrated, how they try so hard and how the world doesn’t always make sense to them.

I have been blessed with friends and family that do their best to support me when the world shuffles and tosses me around a little bit (you know who you are!). I want that same experience for our daughter, because she too deserves to have people in her life that understand her and that she feels safe coming to. Understanding and support, whether for my husband, for a friend or my child, means not jumping to conclusions or thinking that I have all the answers or that I truly know what is going on at all times. What a relief!

We develop close connections with our children and our family when we support and understand them even when we’d prefer that they did things our way. It’s a great opportunity to show our unconditional love and make them feel that their feelings and thoughts matter to us too. We can show that we “see them”!

When we encourage and understand someone, including our children, we inspire them to be themselves. And in the end, honoring exactly who they are is the best way to show someone you love them.

How do you keep the communication open in your family?

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