I remember the year I felt eager to try out some new communication skills I was learning. I trusted they would help lessen confusion and help me to get more of what I wanted out of my relationships.

When I spoke to one person I knew for many years, I was confused because my new skills seemed to help to end that relationship. I thought I was trying to resolve a conflict. I believed these skills didn’t work or I didn’t do them right. So I tried again around the same time when I spoke to my dying mother. These new skills helped us to deepen our connection and mutual understanding. We experienced unconditional love and it felt wonderful! Yet another time, I felt confused again when I tried to speak to my husband using the communication formula that I had just learned. He nearly had a fit and wondered what kind of therapy I was trying to pull over on him.

Same strategy and three different results…hmmm… Why?

I believe the difference was in my objectives, what I was aiming for at the time I chose to speak. For each relationship and each communication, I intended different things. At the same time, I put more faith in the strategies rather than in myself.

In the first example, I felt frustrated and ambiguous to change the situation. Concerned by my mother’s well-being and focused on spending more time with her before she died, my intention was on nurturing that relationship. In my heart, my care was elsewhere. It was not on the conflict with the other person. I just wanted the fighting to stop. In one way, it did.

In the second example with my mother, I wanted to deeply connect with her. Despite my clumsy interpretation of what I was learning at the time, love and understanding poured from my heart. My focus, and the results, were congruent again.

In the last example where I tried a new communication format with my husband, my intention was on the technique. I forgot about the dialogue, and I forgot to trust myself. No wonder he wanted the “real” me! I learned then (and I remind myself as often as I can) that authenticity, understanding, and my focus are more important than trying to “get it right”. As long as I have the objective to understand…to be curious rather than be right…then the words and actions I choose will likely lead me in that direction. The intention I have in my heart will likely lead me to where I want to go.

This is your coaching assignment for this week if you choose to accept it: Think of a challenge you have right now. Check in with yourself and your heart. Express yourself truthfully while respecting others’ needs to do the same. Seek to understand rather than being right.

“Communication works for those who work at it.” John Powell

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung

Author's Bio: 

Wendy McDonnell, Hons.B.Sc., MFCC, is a Master Family Communications Coach with training in Psychology, Nonviolent Communication, Restorative Circles, Collaborative Divorce, Grief and Bereavement, Reiki, and teaching. Her hands-on experience in transforming her own childhood violence into peace motivates her to support other families to create extraordinary relationships. You can learn how to value everyone's needs and work together, without giving up...and without giving in. Visit her website www.CompassionateSolutions.ca for your free newsletter, gift, or coaching consultation.