There is no precise definition of communication in our culture, yet there is a definite structure that a majority follow out of an unconscious desire to connect. The basis of how we begin each relationship often is an indicator/predictor of how we will proceed and progress through out the development of our love partnerships/marriages or even close friendships. As daunting as it seems , the truth is there are some easy and concrete ways to use words and body language that immediately ignite positive responses, interest and validation as we move from one season or topic to the next. Mirroring, Validating and being Present truly are meant to coexist together. When they are practiced as a trio and intentionally used to back each-other up, it’s almost impossible to fail.
Mi: Mirroring your partner can be an absolute power in both you and your relationship as it pertains to acknowledgement and change. The concept is fairly simple in that it is both a reflection of you and/or the desired you and can be achieved by observation and action. To begin, when you see a behavior or trait you enjoy or find beneficial and desirable you then take on the same mannerisms. For instance, If your spouse or partner tends to make eye contact and ask open ended questions when you are sharing and it speaks to a part of you that brings safety and freedom to elaborate, you conscientiously make note of this and present the same behavior back. On the flip side maybe your partner or spouse is lacking in commitment and this is frustrating you or working significantly hard or even seems a bit lazy. Take a moment to reflect on yourself and see where in your daily life you might be exhibiting the same behaviors. Some of the things you will find can be both humbling and eye opening. As you begin to intentionally observe and reflect on all the big and small details that are causing both growth and distance between you and your significant other in their particular behavior you discover so many new opportunities to deeper the understanding of how each of you tick. It’s also a way to mature in your own patterns and personal growth that can translate in all your relationships.
V: Validation in a relationship can often be misunderstood. Agreeing with another perspective is quite different than acknowledging what the other is saying or expressing. The text book definition is the recognition and acceptance of another persons thoughts, feelings and sensations as understandable. I believe this is by far one the most important skills you can acquire in communication because it lifts the other person up through being heard and understood. The concept is very simple and overthinking it can turn into fixing and solving problems, which is not the goal. The deep desire of the person most times is to know that you are taking space to join in the process. Bam! Done.
Phrases like “ I can completely see how that might make you feel” or “interesting, tell me more about that so I can better understand”.
Even responses like “that sucks” or “I feel for you right now” can quickly connect the other person to feelings of inclusion and transparency. In the case you disagree, take personal emotion and opinion out of it and focus on the other person’s current state. When they are validated they are more likely to hear you and the communication of how to move forward can begin. Making sure to listen well and being authentic are key when choosing your statements. Honestly, speaking less and lending an ear might teach you insights and experiences you otherwise would not have learned had you tried to fix and move on. Remember the goal is to not teach, but to BE taught when the other person has the mic.
P: Being fully present in a relationship begins with self awareness. Knowing yourself better allows you to see how you are affecting others and how your communication style effects the results of your connections and relationships. Being present is probably the most difficult of the three MVP’s because it’s mind body and soul. How you present yourself in a conversation allows the receiving party to feel seen and acknowledged. The energy you offer can create fear just as easily as it can create peace, joy and space. When you create freedom and undivided attention the person innately desires to offer it back. Opening the door to mutual satisfaction and momentum to reach the next step to with resolution or understanding. Some examples of being present are the simple “go to”s such as eye contact, putting your phone in another room or even just showing up. But to go a bit further, setting out time ahead and being proactive in organizing the hour or day to connect. Light a candle if the other enjoys that and maybe make tea and put on music they like when having the discussion. As you begin the dance of being present the ideas are endless on how to show up and be present in a way the other person feels loved.
As all of these go hand in hand the overall message here is that in order to receive you most certainly have to give. This art can be exciting and empowering as you explore how to communicate and deepen your relationships. What a gift we have in being able to choose how we communicate. Knowing that we all have a story that took place before we met and that is an opportunity to learn and expand on our deepest dreams and desires for contentment in connection with others deserves gratitude. We are always growing and learning and with effective communication the journey can lead us to more than we imagined. Be the Most Valuable Player in the game!