I find communicating effectively with other people is one of the greatest challenges in life! I mean, how many times do we end up in conflict with someone because of a mis-communication, or in my case, a lack of communication.
I admit, I am really good at avoiding conversations I don’t want to have, and being passive/aggressive when I react. It doesn’t work very well when I want to have more meaningful relationships in my life! So in my quest to be closer to family and friends, I actively work on how I communicate with others.
We learn our communication patterns early on from our parents, extended family, and teachers. We watch, we do the same. Sometimes it’s effective, sometimes it’s not. We all have our patterns of communication. And we have the choice to be more effective in how we communicate.
Why bother, you ask? Because it leads to more meaningful and joyous relationships with partners, children, co-workers, friends, and family. Something that most of us crave more of.
There are several tools we can use to be effective communicators. Here is one of them. I call it “Removing the wiggly words.”
Wiggly word category #1: when you are struggling to say what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, or asking for a favor, do you find you use a lot of filler words like, “just” “maybe” “I guess”? They are all words that come from a place inside of you that doesn’t believe in yourself. We feel “bad” for saying what we’re saying, so the message comes out that way.
Other words like this include: “sort of” and “kind of.” When you use these words, your friend or spouse subconsciously hears the doubt in your voice and in your words. Notice when you use these words, and say out loud, “I’m going to restate that – what I want is to relax, not “just” relax.
Wiggly word category #2: “should’s,” “shouldn’ts,” and “suppose to’s”. These words are TOXIC to our ourselves. It implies a judgment, as if we’ve done something wrong, will do something wrong, or someone else has done something wrong or will do something wrong. Life is not in the category of right and wrong, or good and bad. It IS. What a relief!
Again, notice when you say this word, either in your head or out loud, and restate the sentence. These words work against self-acceptance and bring guilt and disempowerment. Replace your “shoulds” with “will” or “choose” and you will step into your power.
Wiggly word category #3: ultimate words (especially dangerous when talking with your spouse or partner!): “always” and “never.” These are not truth. To put a blanket statement on ourselves or someone else with these words is not speaking the truth, and will cause your spouse or partner to most likely become defensive. Really look at what’s true before blurting out these words.
Wiggly word category #4: saying “I’m sorry” when you haven’t done anything wrong, or when you are crying. When you say this, you are saying you are sorry for your existence. It’s especially common for women. Take this out of your vocabulary unless you have truly hurt someone. Especially when you are crying with others. Let the tears run without this commentary – it’s your truth.
By removing the wiggly words, you live and speak from your empowered self, not your “small” self. Hooray for that!