Maintaining Healthy Communication Through Differences.

Good communication in any relationship is essential for continued growth. As well as keeping problems from growing into something that could tear them apart.

I bet it isn’t a surprise for any of you to hear that communication is important for relationship health. Then why is that somewhere around 65% of divorcees site that communication problems were their biggest issue in bringing those marriages to an end?

My guess is that we all know that it is important, but either forget that in the heat of the relationship or never developed the proper skills to communicate healthily in the first place.

Lets talk about why healthy communication is important to the health of relationships, why it can be difficult, and some ideas for smoothing out the process. Not just for the romantic type of relationships like marriages, but for relationships of all sorts.

Communication Differences

Communication Through a Sea of Differences.

Communication can be extremely difficult because we are all so different. We have different beliefs, values, communication styles, expectations, trust issues, past traumas, and the list goes on and on. With so many differences to navigate, it is a surprise that us human beings can hold any relationship together. To create healthy relationships we need to learn to bridge the gap between all the differences we have. Now that gap is easier to bridge with some individuals more than others. Though I do believe that most individuals can find a way to close that gap and build healthy relationship with all those others that are also able.

The sea of differences between us breeds unpredictability. And I don’t know about you, but my brain loves being able to predict what is coming next. I like to know what the people around me are thinking, feeling and planning. But I also know that my brain likes shortcuts. So instead of starting a conversation with an individual, I may just come up with an idea in my own head and treat it as reality. Making the assumption that I know what this person is up to no good, when really they are just fine.

This doesn’t mean that some individuals are not dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted. But to know for sure we will need some direct evidence from outside of our own skulls. That is where learning how to communicate in a healthy way comes into play.

What is Healthy Communication?

Healthy communication is a balanced method for communicating. It is assertive, meaning that is neither too aggressive or passive. It is the sweet spot of connecting with the core energies of anyone we come across.

There is no relationship that will grow in a healthy way without consistent communication in this style. It binds our relationships together in a way that is informative, mainly enjoyable, and respects the personal boundaries of all involved. Allowing our relationships to live and let live, without letting them walk all over our dreams. It helps mesh our collective dreams, enhancing and not snuffing out the life long desires of others.

Communicating in a healthy way, often enough allows for a relationship to be strong, flexible, and unified. It keeps all parties on the same page, leaving less uncertainty to obsess about. Do this enough and it will be a formidable force to navigate through the world of differences that are both inside and outside the relationship.

Methods for Communicating Through Differences.

We will not be able to get rid of all the differences and unpredictability in our relationships. But relationships need equal life energy from all parties involved to be there best. What we need are methods to get by the barriers in ourselves and the others in our relationships to healthy communication happen. Here are some methods to ponder.

1. Get to Know and Respect The Others Beliefs.

We all have different beliefs. Many of our beliefs whether religious, ethical, or political conflict heavily with the beliefs of others. Learning about these beliefs and how to respect them is of great importance to building a relationship with them. To respect their beliefs is not to tip toe our own beliefs around them. No, in the process we also need to respect our own beliefs. Respecting their beliefs also doesn’t mean believing them, but we do not need to be rude or putting them down for having them.

I have had many respectful conversations about many controversial topics with those that deeply believe the opposite of me. What I have learned is that just because someone believes the opposite of me, doesn’t mean they are insane. They have something to teach me and I have something to teach them.

2. Respect Others Communication Styles.

There are many different communication styles. Some are very expressive, emotionally putting themselves out there openly unapologetically. Others, much like myself are more reserved unable and not wanting to express themselves in that same way. For communication to be balanced and healthy the different styles need to meet in the middle somehow to be equals. The more aggressive style may need to slow down for the passive to get a word in edgewise. And the more passive may need to speak up more so that the more aggressive doesn’t dominate the conversations.

To respect the styles of the others, we need to test the waters and make adjustments. These adjustments may be difficult to make since our communication styles are well established. But as painful and frustrating it may be, to get the most out of our relationships with these various styles the adjustments must be made.

3. Have a Growth Mindset when Learning to Communicate.

Developing Healthy Relationships has been one of the most difficult things for me to learn. I have put my foot in my mouth over and over again, disrespected people, been too aggressive, been too avoidant, assumed too much and listened too little. I believe the only way to develop healthy communication skills is to practice, make a fool of ourselves and learn.

I do believe that the art of communication is about getting to the place in which we are equals. Where we are not trapped in a game of superiority or inferiority. With all the issues we have, getting to equality with others can be feel like an impossible destination. It is possible though. With a lot of hard work and practice it is possible. With a mindset that is focused on learning from mistakes and growing from them over time the skills develop. This is what I have come to learn through my own experience.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

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Leadership with Healthy Expectations.

For as long as there have been leaders, the argument for how they have been made has probably been going on.

The argument goes like this. Are leaders born, or are they made.

Over the last 9 years I have come to terms that I am and probably always will be a leader.

Leaders inspire. Leaders push for movement towards shared goals. Leaders also make sure their expectations for what needs to be done are expressed to everyone involved with the relationship.

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In order to make expectations for relationships I am a leader for healthy, I can clearly see some things that need to be in place:

1. Relationship Development- When I have managed at my job, people have needed to do what was expected in order to receive a paycheck and receive good reports. But most of the areas I lead in do not have a monetary reward for meeting expectation. To get people on board with my expectations, I need to develop rapport with them. And I need to give them a damn good reason to want to build something with me. Just berating people with my expectations without a mutual and enjoyable relationship, means that these people will probably tell me where to go (and for good reason)!

2. Reasonable Expectation- What I mean by this is that I need to get a gauge for what people can perform. I believe that this requires me to study people’s behavior, also setting a high bar for initial performance. Setting the bar higher at first can give me a gauge for how much someone can do and cannot. If I set the bar too low I may never get to know what someone is capable of doing.

3. Effective Communication- I know that if expectations are to be healthy, they need to be communicated. People need to know what I need from them. If I don’t communicate the expectations, I am probably going to assume these people know what I want. Then I will be frustrated when these people are not meeting my expectations. Even though these people never even knew what I was expecting in the first place!

4. Consistent Evaluation- When individuals have accepted my expectations for their performance, for whatever reason, I need to let them know what I think about their performance. I need to show them my gratitude for meeting expectation, I need to show my dissatisfaction for performance not being met. I have also found that when I am expressing my frustration, I need to do it in a way that respects the individual.

5. Continued Support- To me it is not enough to simply express what the expectations are and to give reports on whether they have been met or not. I also need to let people know that I have their backs. People that I am in a leadership role with need to know that I am willing to do whatever it is that I expect from them. And if I am not skilled enough to do what needs to be done, I need to be willing to help find someone who can.

Now BELIEVE ME… Being able to write this list has come from struggle. I have pushed on people too hard without having a solid relationship in place and pissed them off too much. I have expected too little from people and watched them get bored. I have assumed too much, I have expressed too little. I have neglected to practice what I preach.

I don’t say this to guilt myself, I say this because this is My Life Experiment! It is only by experimenting with life, and examining the results of my actions thoroughly, that I have learned the skills I have.

In the article about Hustling to Maintain my Sanity I talked about all the things I need to do to maintain my sanity so that I don’t fall into my old way of life. Being a leader is just another one of these things I must do.

I have also found that when this leader does not lead, stress builds, and so do the tendencies toward depression and anxiety. But when this leader does lead, I find that a natural skill comes out that has positive effects for helping any relationship I am a part of, find consistent growth.

I know a lot of people may argue that leaders are simply born, they are not grown. I believe that line of thinking is pure rubbish. I believe that if individuals truly desire to learn the skills that are involved with being a successful leader, that they can do so!

Sure, I do believe that some people may be more geared toward being leaders than others. I also don’t know where this tendency came from for me. Was I born with it? Or was it something I developed when I was navigating a world as an insane man that could not stop using mind altering substances?

Whatever the case may be, this trait is a part of my personality now. And as much as I would like to remove the leadership trait at times, I cannot.

I don’t always appreciate that one of my first tendencies is to nudge people into new territory and place expectations on them. But I at least have been learning how to get the most out of the leadership quality, and have been honing how to have, communicate, and get positive growth out of the expectations I am developing for people today.

I wish you well on your path of learning how to lea with healthy expectations. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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