It’s More Than Just Communicating

You hear it all the time, right? Communication is key. It’s the most important part of any relationship and without it there’s bound to be trouble. I totally agree, but I think there’s something missing. You don’t just simply need to communicate, you need to communicate the right way.

I used to not communicate at all and that was a problem. If there was something I didn’t like I could brush it off or ignore it. If I thought my opinions and feelings were going to upset someone I would just rather keep them to myself. If I could simply avoid the situation altogether that was probably the best option for everyone. I wasn’t communicating and it caused lots of problems for me that I’ll have to go into in another post. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now it’s easy to see how my lack of communication was an easy short-term solution but unsustainable in the long term.

If you’re not communicating the way you should be to other people in your life (especially the ones you know and love the most) you need to fix it as soon as possible. Open up, speak your mind and when that feeling in your gut tells you that something isn’t right, do something about it. Don’t ignore it — it’s there for a reason. Making this change is worth all of the uncomfortable feelings you’re going to have in the process and then some. It’s not going to happen fast, I’ve been making changes for the past 3-4 years, but you need to start. Now.

Now that I’ve seen some positive changes in how I’m communicating to the different people in my life there’s something that I’ve found to be just as important (if not more important) than the act of communicating itself. The more important thing is *how* you’re communicating your thoughts and feelings.

Just because you’re communicating doesn’t mean you’re doing it the right way. There’s a balance of grace and truth when it comes to communicating and you don’t want to be on one side or the other. You want to have a good balance of both. Yes, you should tell the truth, but if you tell it without any grace you’re going to come off as too harsh or with a sense of not caring. Basically you’ll seem like more of an jerk than someone who actually cares about the other person. The truth is always needed, but taking some time to speak the truth in a way that’s loving and full of grace will go a long way.

Not giving enough truth can be just as bad. This is also known as sugar coating and while it makes the truth easier to communicate, it doesn’t have the intended effect on the person you’re talking to. I used to do this all the time and still find myself wanting to soften up the truth when having a discussion with my friends, family, wife and even strangers. Don’t take the easy way out and not tell the full truth, it’s only going to make things harder in the end.

One last thing, avoid sarcasm at all times when communicating something you feel strongly about. It never helps get your point across and only make the other person feel like they’re being attacked. Skip it and do your best to communicate with some grace and truth.

This will take time to get right and I’m still trying to figure out how I communicate to others in the ways I should. If you take some time to think and don’t just react when you’re in a conversation you’ll be able to get the balance of grace and truth you need. Take a second before you respond, think about how you’re going to communicate and go from there.

Any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you. Let me have it and here’s to having better communication!

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