Becoming You

Mindful Communication

Whats the deal with breakdowns in communication?

Have you ever had a conversation that somehow went so terribly wrong that you are left in a state of confusion afterwards?  Have you experienced the emotional exhaustion involved in witnessing a calm discussion turn into a volatile emotional argument after one ill timed snide remark or insensitive comment made by one of its participants. 

At some point or another we have all experienced the dizzying effects of a breakdown in communication . Often the emotional spill out after a blow up leaves a situation in greater disarray than before. Harsh words get said, feelings are hurt, relationships get damaged, and worst of all the problem never reaches a solution. 

Situations like this SUCK , and although we all have our moments that we aren’t the best communicators. Some seem to have more difficulty than others being able to articulate and receive opinions and perspectives from others that don’t result in total breakdown. 

So what’s the difference between those who seem to navigate difficult conversations with ease, finesse, and overwhelming compassion versus… well, the majority of us who have a tougher time ?

Mindfulness is the difference. Communication is deeper than just hearing people speak and then saying your opinion. Great communication begins in the mind. You have the power to position yourself and your conversation for success with simple choices that can affect your overall mindset for the conversation.

Don’t fall in the trap of letting your conversation drown in your emotional cloud.Create clarity in your conversations with mindfulness. The act of conversing can be therapeutic, but communicating mindfully bring about solutions, relations, and clarity. 

it sounds good but , what does mindful communication really look like ?…

What does it mean to truly communicate in a way that is open , aware, and intentionally driving harmonious conversation that doesn’t leave emotional scars on its participants ? 

Mindful communication is the practice of being present, compassionate, and aware as we listen and engage in conversation with others. It both gifts us and challenges us to truly engage and focus on others openly and without judgement ;while also being mindful  of our opinions,and compassionate with how we articulate our opinions. 

Mindful communication is a dance . It is a two part process in which both parties must practice being present and open during the conversation. Basically, it is the ability to be tuned in and focused internally and externally focused on what someone else is saying. That means not preparing rebuttals while listening , or arguing in your head against them– instead listening and truly trying to step into the person’s point of view to truly understand without bias. Even if you don’t agree it will bring a greater level of clarity on where that person stands on that topic.   It also challenges us to ask ourselves questions and be considerate of others when you respond to things you may/may not agree with. Mindful communication asks us to be aware of how we speak and engage with others. 

Mindful Communication involves :

  • Active Listening
  • Compassionate and Aware Responses

Having a compassionate, articulate, mature, conversation sounds good, but the truth of the matter is emotions can get messy really fast . One moment you are articulating a well crafted opinion with a calm tone and next thing you know , your conversation may have gotten a little heated .  The challenge that most face is stepping outside themselves during difficult conversations and stepping into a mindful mindset . Truth be told, this takes discipline. 

You have to talk to your inner self and remind your mind to stay present and mindful. Ask yourself throughout the day; am I paying attention fully? Is my response compassionate ? Is this opinion crafted around personal bias ? 

It is ok to fall off the mindfulness wagon, just hop back on and when your mind wanders bring your mindset back to mindfulness.

Remember, developing your communication skills is not a magic trick that happens in a day . As you strive to live with mindfulness, you may stumble. Allow yourself time to grow and shift your mindset . In time you will realize , it will come easier and without additional thought.  Mindfulness is a journey of self discovery, keep trying to be the best you. 

We have all experienced a communication breakdown at some point that would have benefited from a bit of mindfulness. I want to hear from you, let me know in the comments below about a time you could have used a bit more mindfulness in your conversation. 

Where do you need the most improvement ? Listening, expression or maybe a bit of both ?

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