“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi
Do you think before you speak? Are you comfortable communicating your feelings with those close to you? How has the quality of communication in your relationships helped or hurt them?
Over the years, the thing that I remember most about past relationships is the way the other person and I communicated and how that style of communication helped or hurt the relationship.
Many People Fear Expressing Their Feelings
For example, my ex-husband did not reveal his feelings—it wasn’t manly. Another man was warm and romantic when he needed to be close to me, but when he didn’t want to be bothered, he became distant and irritable. Still another could not handle conflict or what he perceived to be conflict, and he distanced himself by literally leaving or shutting down emotionally so that no real conversation could take place.
None of those relationships lasted although I managed to stay married for ten years. My father had been a man of few words who rarely showed his feelings, so I didn’t expect much. In contrast, I had grown up with a grandfather who expressed his love in many ways, and I longed for that.
Conflicts Require Us To Choose Wise Words
We all find moments in a relationship when we need to express our hurt feelings or clarify what we or our partner has said to avoid misunderstanding. These moments may be very touchy. We worry about how the other person will react. Will this separate us further or bring us closer together? Will we choose the right words without upsetting the other person? After one of these moments in a former relationship, I wrote the following poem.
We talk –
Our words weave webs
To trap us,
Entangling syntax and emotion
Until we catch a thread
That unravels the pattern
Or unsnags the snare
Our egos have woven.
This tapestry we weave
Is precious and rich
With dangerous detours
Like silken strands
And designs that rise
To its shimmering surface
Only after the hum of our loom
We sit surprised
By the shape it has taken,
Not the form we intended
But the one we created.
Photo: Greg Henshall for FEMA
We Can Learn To Communicate Better
We are fortunate today because there are so many opportunities to improve how we communicate. Harville Hendrix’s Imago Relationship Therapy offers training in this area and includes learning a mirroring technique that helps us to truly hear one another. Nonviolent Communication teaches us to speak with compassion from the heart.
Let Go of the Ego and Speak From the Heart
How we communicate may determine our success or failure in a large range of activities because we are interacting with others in almost every aspect of life. When we are able to let go of ego’s needs and center ourselves, we are more likely to be able to hear what the other person is saying. When we release our fear and communicate with love, we help the other person to feel safe, and hopefully this will allow him to speak with honesty.
Now that I am in a relationship with a man who communicates well and isn’t afraid to show his feelings, I feel such freedom. I know him on a deeper level than I knew most of the other men with whom I’ve had relationships, and that makes all the difference. We share so much more of who we are because we trust each other to be honest and kind at the same time. Sometimes our words do surprise us, but we choose to ask for clarification before we react.
Release Fear and Be in the Moment
We all benefit when we find that field, about which Rumi speaks, where judgment is suspended, where we can be heard, where we can speak without fear, and where we can untangle the web we have woven. Whether written or spoken, our words have power to enrich our lives or to harm them. Developing the consciousness to be in the moment so that we think before we speak or send an impulsive email is a wise practice.
What have you learned lately about the power of your words? Please Comment.
© 2014 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5