I frequently meet people who want to experience caring relationships and while the majority of them are well intentioned and trying to make things work; they are also baffled as to how to overcome challenges and communicate effectively.  Then they get increasingly frustrated but keep doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.  In other words, they get a little insane.

Here are some bad habits to avoid and solutions for communication improvements instead:

  1. We try to fix, convert, heal and change others.  Communications centering on one’s agenda to change others produce resentment and resistance. Solution:  Learn how to be receptive, disclose your feelings without an agenda, and recognize others feelings, gifts and opinions. Don’t push for a solution. If you do offer your opinion, get permission first.
  2. We forget we have blind spots. Then we don’t realize many limiting beliefs are in play, how unconscious we are, how many options are outside of our awareness, how weak our intrinsic motivation, how afraid we are to make mistakes, how quickly we give up, how hopeless we feel, how often we blame or how frequently we hold ourselves as a victim.  Solution:  Listen. Assume those around you are trying to help you and are there to show you what’s in your blind spot.
  3. We don’t count the costs of harmful gossip. Many assume gossip is a fact of life and have not addressed it directly nor decided to do anything constructive about it. Solution: Commit to stop gossiping and learn how to communicate instead. We have proven strategies for this.
  4. We don’t effectively manage our relationships with authority, peers and ourselves. We don’t realize that 88% of our energy needs to be spent managing ourselves and healing our limiting beliefs from the past that keep us stuck.  Solution: Mind your own business because it’s almost a full time job.
  5. We don’t realize how often we do things irresponsibly.  Every time we do something with resentful compliance or react from rebellion, we are out of integrity and nothing good comes of it. Solution: Don’t take action from the mindset of  “I should”, “I have to”, “I ought to” “I need to”, “I can’t” or “No I won’t. You can’t make me.”
  6. We don’t realize when we put ourselves into a lesser, inferior position or an inflated, superior position. If we are not paying attention, we follow the herd and engage in oppressive or victim roles.  Solution: Look to authentic leaders. Follow their lead of fairness and mutual respect.
  7. We are not willing to ask for what we want. We are afraid to say, “I want…Are you willing?” and “No” Solution: Get past your cravings for acceptance and comfort that comes at all costs. Figure out what you want and ask for it. Be open to receive it when you get a yes.
  8. We don’t like to address frustrations directly and productively. We avoid the elephant in the room, and then seethe with frustration and judgment. Solution: Practice stating directly, “I don’t like it when you…” (State the behavior you don’t like), “because I want…” (State your unmet needs) Speak about what you want rather than what you don’t want. (Ask for specific behavior changes).
  9. We don’t want to be thought of as being “touchy-feely.”  We all want to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing yet we are ashamed of being found out so we play it safe and withhold the mushy stuff. That’s why we gossip and over-eat so much. Solution: Get mushy anyway.

Remember, we are hardwired to be in caring relationships and feel at peace when we are able to master the communications that make them possible.  I’m here to help you to take your best intentions for good relationships and turn them into reality.

Judy Ryan (judy@LifeworkSystems.com) is owner of LifeWork Systems. Her mission is to help people create lives they love. Take your free assessment today (at www.LifeworkSystems.com) and receive your custom report. Judy can be reached at 314-239-4727.

As published in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly September 2014