Human beings are intrinsically designed to form meaningful relationships. Connection is a fundamental human trait. Sadly, the way we express ourselves can sometimes cause pain and confusion in our relationships with friends, colleagues, children and partners.
Relationships that are based on friendship and mutual respect tend to be the most enduring. One of the most important ways to build a healthy relationship is through effective communication, which is why expressing yourself effectively is so important.
What are some examples of situations in which we need to express ourselves effectively?
- When emotions are running high
- When we feel passionate about a subject or strongly about an issue
- When there is a very important message to get across to your partner
- When it is important that we are understood
- When we are asking someone to meet a need we have
All of these moments are important, and they are moments when we open ourselves up to rejection, which is scary.
What tends to stop people from expressing themselves effectively with others?
- Not knowing what we want
- Not knowing how to articulate what we want
- Not having learned the skill of communicating effectively early in life
- Fear and vulnerability
- Being afraid of judgement
How can we effectively and clearly express ourselves?
When we are in any relationship we need to be able to express ourselves in a way that people can understand and respect. Here are some tips for effective expression:
- Take the time to look inward and clarify in your own mind what it is you want to say, and what you want to achieve. In a relationship with your partner, get familiar with your own relationship values, and talk to your partner about them. Understand that values underpin your relationship so being on the same page as one another can be helpful. It is okay to have different values as long as you respect each other’s.
- It often helps to write it down before you speak to the person or people involved. Writing down your thoughts will help you sort out exactly what it is you need to say, and why. When emotion is high, write out what it is that is upsetting you. Once you have written it down you can often see what the real issue is. Avoid talking to people who are likely to take sides and possibly make matters worse
- Stay on topic rather than moving between historical issues. When we stray from the immediate topic or bring up historical issues we confuse the message we are trying to convey. Digressing will move the conversation in another direction and can leave you feeling misunderstood, or shut down.
- Set good boundaries. It is vital you understand what your boundaries are on the topic and stick within them. Let the other person know your boundaries before you begin the conversation. Have a plan in place for how you will address it with them if the other person crosses a boundary.
- Avoid “winners” and “loser”. Instead try to find compromise. Compromising preserves relationships that are important to us.
- Avoid calling each other names, criticism, contemp or avoiding the other person completely as these things are toxic in all relationships. Work on healthy communication and fightting fair.
- Don’t forget that conflict occurs in all relationships and is healthy. When handled well differences in your relationships with friends, colleagues, children and partner can help you and the relationship to grow.
Alternatively if you would like to make an appointment for counselling please do so on the scheduler at the bottom of the page.
I am also now offering short online courses (duration 30 to 60 minutes). Now you can work with me from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you. Learn more … https://debbicarberry.com.au/online-services/
Debbi Carberry is a clinical social worker in private practice in Brisbane, Australia where she specialises in relationship transformation. She has helped hundreds of women and couples who were struggling in their various relationships. If you feel that you would like some additional support in your relationship click here to find out about Debbi’s ground-breaking online course, “Rewire your Brain for Better Relationships”.