The Flow of Communication
By Michael de Glanville & Viola Edward….
Expression and Reception.
A flow of information requires both expression and reception and to become a successful flow, the communication will depend on truthful expression and receptive awareness. Truthful expression can take many forms such as talking, touching, gesturing and loving and the closer these forms come to expressing the essence of the person involved, the more powerful will be the action. Receptive awareness of spoken words will be listening to hear what is really being said, uncovering the needs concealed among the words and between the lines. Awareness to touch will awaken the body senses, opening up the spirit to receive the energy expressed in the contact. Awareness of gestures will be observing and translating the body language into coherent information. Receptive awareness of love will be sensing the love being offered and opening the heart to let love in. Awareness of emotional expression will be through understanding, feeling empathy and deepening emotional connection.
Probably the most prolific channel of communication between two partners in a loving relationship will be the exchange of spoken words. Most of our conflicts (and the conflict resolution) will be built up around what is said. It follows that if we wish to get better at resolving our conflicts or preventing conflicts from developing, we should pay much more attention to what we say and how we say it. Our awareness in listening will focus on hearing what is really being said to us and how best to acknowledge what we have heard. Both actions require presence, practice, motivation and restraint.
Creating Deeper Connections.
Imagine being able to transform those perpetual family conflicts into opportunities for creating deeper and more loving connections with your partner or your children. What if you could enter into a conversation with your partner confident that you would be really heard, rather than reluctant to speak at all, for fear that everything you say would be misconstrued?
Conditioned to Conflict.
Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Non Violent Communication (NVC), explains below, why it is so difficult for us to experience that kind of success in our communications.
“Most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand and diagnose, to think and communicate in terms of what is “right“ and “wrong“ with people. We express our feelings in terms of what another person has “done to us.” We struggle to understand ourselves, what it is that we want or need in the moment, and how to effectively ask for what we want or need without using unhealthy demands, threats or coercion. So many of us struggle every day to share what we feel or what we want in a way that can really be heard. We simply haven’t been taught the effective communication skills, emotional vocabulary, or self-awareness needed to get “unstuck” in those challenging moments, or to prevent those moments from happening in the first place.”
Non Violent Communication.
Rosenberg formulated a process, which he called Non Violent Communication, to help us resolve existing conflicts and prevent differing viewpoints from developing into conflict.
His process is founded on transforming the way that I “express” myself and the way that I “listen”. While listening before talking, I will “observe” the situation to see what is going on. When I talk, I will be trying to express clearly how “I am”, without blaming or criticising anyone else. I can say what I observe, hear or imagine etc. and I can then say how these observations make me “feel” (I feel scared, offended, joyful, irritated, frustrated, etc.). Based on these feelings, I will then know what “I need” or value, finishing with a “clear request” of actions that I would like taken. This request will be centred on what we would like the other person to do in order “to enrich my life or the lives of both of us”.
While I am making the statement consisting on the four components above, the person listening to me is receiving these same four components and when I have finished will connect back to me.
The other aspect of effective communication consists of me receiving from the other person (if it is possible) these same four components. If it is not possible for any reason, then I, in my empathetic connection with them, would already have perceived what they “observe, feel, need”, and at that point, I invite them to simply make a request of what they need, discovering then what will “enrich their lives” as I hear the “request” that they formulate in reply.
Before a couple’s journey into non violent communication begins, a subject will probably not be opened up for discussion until one of the partners is frustrated, upset and emotional. The beginning of the exchange can be full of anger, empty of hope and typified by statements like “I can’t take any more of this.” There may be verbal aggression and insults and these will have to be listened to in attentive silence in order to allow the root cause of the frustration to appear. If, instead of listening, the partner mounts a counter attack, there will be no one left listening and effective communication breaks down. The frustrated partner needs to feel they are really being heard. Their true needs will emerge from the process when given the place and the invitation. The listener must work hard to transform the upsurge of their feelings of judgement and criticism into meaningful expressions of empathetic understanding and connection.
A Fluid Dance.
All these techniques we are writing about are not only applicable to the use of words. The conscious and receptive attitudes involved can also be conveyed through the medium of silence, simple presence, facial expression and body language. Whatever the channels of communication being used, the partners can learn to dance with the different forms, transforming passivity into action, finding the fluidity to weave their way between moments of expression and moments of receptivity, developing awareness by listening and observing, unravelling the tangles of confusion, loosening the knots that restrain the expression of emotions, awakening the body senses and opening the heart to let love in. When communication between the partners is working well, the conscious dance may begin because both partners are fully present and participating.
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If you are interested in deepening your knowledge about “effective communication” you can participate in individual, couples or family sessions with Viola.
You can download a free copy of Viola’s book “Breathing the Rhythm of Success” and find a collection of previous articles in this series from www.violaedward.com
Viola came to Cyprus from Venezuela in 2002 to join Michael who was born on the island and returned from France in 1999. Viola and Michael are both therapists and trainers in Breathwork and they founded Kayana Ltd. in 2003. Viola specialises in Relationship Coaching, Business Consulting and Colour and Image. Michael has an engineering background and specialises in Massage and Watsu.