‘If the two of you agree on everything, one of you is unnecessary.’ -Anonymous
What gives? Why are relationships, specifically the communication in your relationships, often complicated and challenging?
Why doesn’t this person understand what you are trying to say? Why don’t you get the point he or she is making? Why is it sometimes so difficult to be heard, as well as to speak out?
Sometimes communication can feel like hard work – as difficult as if you are each speaking a different language, and nobody is bothering to listen or understand. It’s invalidating to be in a relationship in which you don’t feel like you are being heard. You might blame the other person for not getting you, but there’s more to this story than you think.
Your communication with others all begins with you, or to be more precise, within you.
Your communication with yourself will affect every relationship you create, consciously or not. Each person you are in relationship with, whether they are your family, work mates, best friends, or love interest, will reflect you, back to you.
People who are very different from each other often find themselves attracted to each other. Others can help you to fill in or validate the shadow parts of yourself. This can be supremely healing, and it can be painful.
What if you actively shun that side of yourself? What if you judge it or suppress it in yourself, and fear it in others? You might resent or resist what even your best friend is trying to tell you about yourself, if this is the case. It can feel like an invasion of your space to have someone else tell you how they see you, if you aren’t ready to hear it.
Then there are those who don’t really want to see you, and have their own agenda for being in a relationship with you.
The challenging relationships you’ve created for yourself in your life, all helped you to learn more about yourself. Those who were the biggest challenges may have been the most helpful to you becoming stronger and more aware of who you are.
Here are a few ideas about having relationships you treasure:
The power of a hello. Your first impression of someone is powerful, as is theirs of you. The first time you meet someone is the first time you each say hello to each other. Your hello is one of the greatest gifts you can give to another person. A hello to the other person’s spirit is a way of saying “I see you“.
It’s equally important to continue to give this hello, to actually look at and see the other person, even after years together. If you can no longer see each other, the relationship isn’t in present time. If you don’t receive a hello from your partner, and if you feel like he or she doesn’t really see you, the relationship may not be working for you.
Emotions: whose job are they?
Have you agreed to do the emotional work for others? Has that agreement worked for you – for example, are you getting what you want in your relationships, emotionally? If not, you may want to allow others to take care of their own emotions, while you take care of yours.
If you’re being responsible for yourself, you can more easily have what you want in your relationships. If you want to be emotionally supported as well as a support, be honest with yourself about that, and don’t give away your energy to people who can’t give back.
Intimacy and trust: can you trust yourself in this relationship?
Do you trust yourself to choose? If you don’t, you may be holding yourself back, and this will affect the relationship. Your willingness to commit in a relationship depends on trust, among other things. Your choice of a partner will also be affected by your ability to trust your own sense of who this other person is. Again, it all begins with you.
Are you valued?
In this relationship, do your feelings count? Are your desires and dreams important? Or is it always about the other person, whether that person is a family member, partner, or friend? Perhaps you’ve been afraid to speak out about what it is you want, maybe you’re shut down every time you do, or you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t even know.
The way you see, listen to, and value yourself, affects all others in your world. If you love and value who you are, you will more easily attract others who do the same. Don’t waste your time on those who can’t see your value. Love begins with you.