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Communication in Relationships

Commentary by Peter Shepherd
Communication in Relationships
“Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning, without it, your relationship goes cold.” ~ William Paisley
A satisfying relationship with another person requires good communication, mutual understanding and empathy. If there is a significant drop in one of these factors, e.g. we disagree and have an argument, then an upset ensues - we aren't speaking to one another anymore. We have to get over that barrier and start communicating - which means to begin listen openly and intently as well as to express how we feel. Communication is the solvent of all problems, therefore communication skills are the foundation for personal development. As Brahma Kumaris says, "Good feelings for others are like ointments that heal wounds and re-establish friendship and relationships. Good feelings are generated in the mind, are transmitted through your attitude and are reflected through your eyes and smile. Smiling opens the heart and a glance can make miracles happen."
“Before you speak, think: Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?” ~ Sai Baba
Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware of one's thoughts, feelings and actions, paying attention in the present moment, and perceiving what exists non-judgmentally. It's the opposite to mindlessly reacting according to programmed behavior patterns and emotional responses, "flying off the handle" in other words. It's an ability we can all cultivate if we have a mind to, and our relationships will benefit massively if we do.
“Without communication there is no relationship. Without respect there is no love. Without trust there is no reason to continue.” ~ Unknown
Communication (expression and listening) leads to understanding, which leads to empathy, which leads to compassion. Compromise and agreements become possible, the way ahead shared. With good communication you can feel connected, understood, appreciated and more loved - and make another feel the same. Good communication is like water to a plant, it helps relationships blossom and grow.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.” ~ Shannon L. Adler
People can sometimes be hesitant to be honest, to tell the truth, and all of the truth. We can use our gut feeling to know when what's being said isn't congruent with the situation. And use our intuition to know what question to ask that will bring the truth out into the open. Don't assume your partner knows about everything you expect or want in a relationship. Let him or her know. A relationship should be based on communication, not on assumption.
“A relationship based on people-pleasing is unbalanced and an unnecessary sacrifice of integrity, that will eventually break down.” ~ Peter Shepherd
Serving others offers great rewards. Serving at the expense of yourself - through propitiation or people-pleasing as a means of manipulation - comes with a huge cost that ultimately limits your ability to serve, and limits your ability to achieve anything through authentic commitment.
Richard Branson: Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said. Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess. We have certainly relied on it to drive the success of the Virgin story. In appreciation of the art of communication, here are my top 10 quotes on the subject…
“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.” ~ Lawrence Clark Powell
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening.” ~ Larry King
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~ Mother Theresa
“Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning.” ~ Chris Cavanaugh
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” ~ Brian Tracy
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” ~ James Humes
“Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” ~ Bernard Baruch
“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.” ~ Jeff Daly

Here’s some further reading on this theme...

This One Simple Communication Skill Could Save Your Relationship ~ by Clinton Power

I attended a week-long silent retreat recently and learned a wonderful mindfulness communication skill that could benefit all couples. What I just love about this technique is the simplicity of the process. Wherever you are in your relationship, whether you’re at the beginning and experiencing romantic love, or perhaps you’ve been together a long time and the intimacy and lust has faded, this simple technique can help you start to connect deeply with yourself and your partner. Here are the steps... Continues
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