CONSCIOUSNESS + CURIOUSITY + COMPASSION
“THE QUALITY OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES”
People tend to say “communication is key” or “you have to communicate to have a good relationship” but honestly, what is good communication?
How is it going to help you create a more loving, peaceful, passionate relationship with your partner, better relationships with your coworkers, friends and family?
I have discovered 3 SIMPLE PRINCPLES that when used will change all your relationships to CONFLICT FREE RELATIONSHIPS.
It is not about eliminating conflict but learning how to manage your way through conflict effectively and positively minimizing damage to your relationships. The 3 C’s are an equation of Control (Consciousness) + Curiousity (Care) + Compassion (Consideration)
1. CONSCIOUSNESS (CONTROL):
So what does being CONSCIOUS mean?
CONSCIOUSNESS: (kon-shuhs-nis) NOUN: to understand the deeper meaning of what you think and feel
It is about really noticing and becoming aware of your own feelings, reactions and responses. Relationships are inside work and the people around us are only triggers for us to notice how we are feeling, what has made us feel that way, what values are being prodded, what needs are being compromised, what story are we telling ourselves about an event, comment or conversation.
Our reactions and feelings are entirely made up from what we think and the perspective we have told ourselves about it. I do love to say “don’t believe everything you think” and the reason is that what we think is shaped by our past experiences good and bad. If we don’t have a thought then we won’t have a feeling or reaction, and that feeling is most likely based on thoughts that are probably not unbiased thoughts, but a collection of conclusions we learned since childhood and through past hurts where we have learned to deny our needs, values and primary emotions.
For instance one person can hear a comment or view an event completely differently than you, based on your different experiences with the words, what happened, where they were said, how they were said, the context etc and both of you could easily draw up completely different conclusions, neither right or wrong, just different.
Your job is to notice what story, or tape you have running in the background that filters all the messages you get from others. Once you notice your thoughts and the FEELINGS that come up from the interaction you can get clearer on what those FEELINGS mean to you. I know I am using the “F” word but seriously our FEELINGS are our barometer for what we really need and value and when we are able to tune into them we have done the first part to learning how to communicate better with the purpose of living more authentically & truthfully with ourselves and others. The impact of being able to do this is you will be able to live your life more in line with your real needs and values not from the unconscious drivers from the past.
The intention of the consciousness exercise is to then be able to express how you feel to another person in a calm and clear way, which in turn builds connection, trust and a greater understanding between you BUT for now I would like to invite you to NOTICE what you FEEL when something or someone is “triggering” you and what thoughts or story came up before you had a reaction. Work backwords. Do your best to just be aware of yourself and we will talk about how to share it with others later on in the series.
To learn more about emotions and feelings here is an excellent article to help you CLICK HERE
2. CURIOUSITY (CARE)
So what does it mean to be CURIOUS?
CURIOUS:[kyoor-ee-uhs] ADJECTIVE: eager to learn, understand or know; to be inquisitive, arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention through being different or unknown; an inquiring open mind interested & seeking to know and understand; to wonder.
Be curious with the open heart & mind of a child. Have you ever listened to a child who is curious about something? They are unequalled in their persistence to get the answers so they can understand.
I believe it is invaluable to be deeply interested in what another person is trying to express with no agenda other than to understand, and in turn being deeply curious about yourself, what you are feeling and what you need to express as well.
Being curious shows that you care, that you are interested, that how the other person feels is important to you and that they are important to you. While being curious you need to be able to listen without judgment or interrupting. Listening means to be silent and that your brain is entirely engaged with your partners experience and how they are feeling as they struggle to express what is going on for them, while also being mindful of your own feelings and responses. It is helpful to stop yourself from knowing anything and to not be in rebuttal mode. It means that you remain an open blank slate without making assumptions that you already know and understand what others are trying to express.
Curiousity means that you are remembering that none of what is being said is personal and it means you are LISTENING INTENTLY to what is being said, what is happening, what has caused the upset, what the other persons values are, what is important to them and how they want or need something to be different so they will be happier and your relationship will be better personally or professionally.
A need could be as simple as desiring more tidiness or as fundamental as wanting to feel more respected, but all worthy of our time, compassion, cooperation and collaboration to resolve.
GREAT LITTLE VIDEO FOR YOU “Remember it is NOT about the NAIL“
It is so important to check out what is going on for another person, make sure what you heard is what was intended, and do your best to understand what is important, what they need and are asking for. Curiousity builds trust if you are truly seeking to understand someone else with a compassionate heart.
If you can stay curious even in times of relationship stress, you are on the road to positive healthy relationships. Curiousity helps you stay present to what is happening, what is trying to happen and collaboratively decide what needs to happen going forward. Being curious about the people we are in relationships with, how they experience life, understanding and appreciating their perspective is the key to love in personal relationships and collaborative professional relationships creating an unbreakable bond of positive connection and mutual respect.
Questions can often times sound judgemental or like a criticism so it can be helpful to not use the word “why” but instead to use open questions that start with “what” and “how”:
What is that like?
How do you feel?
What is important about that to you?
What do you need?
Can you help me understand?
How can I help?
3. COMPASSION (CONSIDERATION)
So what is COMPASSION?
COMPASSION: (kuhm-pash-uhn) NOUN: a feeling of deep empathy, care and understanding for another who is upset, hurting, in pain or stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to care for and alleviate the suffering. It means to have heart.
We all need to learn to have an endless well of compassion if we are to improve our connections with others, which in a lot of cases means we need to suspend judgement, our own self talk and reactivity. Empathy and compassion are the underlying premise of all positive connections and conversations and is the cord between hearts. Compassion is different than sympathy and is simply the ability to remain in an open loving heart and be with someone else’s pain even when it is sometimes directed at you. This can sometimes be difficult to actually achieve, however it is vitally important to any relationship.
For any successful healthy relationship both parties need to feel heard, understood, appreciated and accepted, however resolution when there are differences or conflict is a process that sometimes cannot happen immediately, but happens over some time, hours, days or weeks. We sometimes have to be patient with the process. When someone is experiencing upset they may not have the capacity for compassion in that moment and that is why it is so important for any of us to have an endless well of compassion for the person who is experiencing some strong feelings, whatever the cause, even if you are the cause. In our family we call our upsets “big feelings” and we all know when there are some “big feelings” happening that it is our time to bring on the compassion, attentive listening and care for the person having the ‘big feelings”
To have compassion and remain compassionate can be difficult sometimes if those “big feelings” are directed at you, however this is where it is vital not to take anything personally, stay calm and remember that any upset is more about the other person than it is about you. I am also not advocating that you stay in any abusive situation but I am saying that compassion is the antidote to upset, pain, hurt and conflict.
It is a natural human response to feel defensive or on guard when someone’s pain, hurt, upset or a complaint is directed at us, however this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak in any conflictual interaction, and where we all must learn NOT to take someone else’s pain on, don’t take anything personally no matter what, and to remain in our compassionate heart, because that compassion is the glue in the relationship, whether it is a personal or professional relationship.
I often used to say to my husband when I was upset that the only action required was for him to have compassion for me in those difficult moments. Nothing else, just compassion. Trust is built on compassion because it makes others feel important and valuable and that you care about their well being.
Another point that is important to remember about being compassionate is it allows the other person to take responsibility for their own feelings and work through to the deeper issues. It allows all of us the opportunity to let others be responsible for themselves, not try to fix them or the situation, or be codependent ourselves. The beauty in this is it allows for you to be an integral part of someone else’s personal growth. What you are creating in that moment is a strong connection, an intimate bond in our common humanity to heal and grown in our aspiration for acceptance and love.
You will also need to learn to reflect back what is being expressed and how it makes sense to you knowing the other person (more on that in later issues) Compassionate Reflection is the action required after someone has shared with you, so the other person knows you have heard and understood what they have communicated. It is a simple summary of what you believe you heard the other person saying which gives them the opportunity to agree or adjust the message or to continue in more depth.
I believe that the pursuit of love, appreciation and acknowledgement is probably one of our most fundamental human needs and motivators. I can’t say enough about COMPASSION as it is my belief that it is the foundation for all positive human interactions and what really connects us all heart to heart.
So I would like to invite you this week to notice opportunities to engage in some Compassionate Listening & Reflecting and to remember to give yourself some compassion, love and caring too. Let me know how you did. I would love to hear your experience.
Listen HERE to The Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday short sharing on Compassionate Listening
So now you have the 3 SIMPLE PRINCIPLES THAT IF YOU IMPLEMENT THEM WILL POSITIVELY CHANGE ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS PERSONALLY & PROFESSIONALLY
SIGN UP BELOW TO KEEP LEARNING AND GET VALUABLE INSIGHTS-SEE THE NEXT 2 PRINCIPLES
“THE WHOLENESS OF OURSELVES DOES NOT DEPEND ON OUR PERSONALITIES BUT DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON THE AWARENESS OF OUR INNER FEELINGS”
Recommended reading is:
My Communication Series on my blog
The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix
The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman
Love Mheyah ♥
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