Being Heard And Understood – 5 Tips You Need To Know
Being heard and understood is not always an easy task. Especially in intimate relationships.
I talk a lot about the difference between feminine energy and masculine energy. Good communication requires a balance of both energies. Knowing when to speak up and knowing when to listen.
Awaken your divine feminine power by learning how to speak your truth in a loving, compassionate and graceful manner.
Do you ask yourself …
- Does he even care about me?
- Am I talking to a wall?
- When are MY needs going to be met?
Being heard and understood should be top priority if you want to have a healthy relationship. And being in an intimate relationship is the most powerful personal development program there is. Your relationships make you grow. And the way you communicate will make all the difference in that growing process.
5 Communication Tips For Being Heard And Understood
You can’t change another. But let’s look at what you can change, with your words, to change the communication dance between you and your partner.
1. Always and Never
When you’re upset with your partner or someone close, do you use the words “always” and “never”? It will keep you from being heard and understood. Your partner will consciously or unconsciously shut down.
Statements such as:
“He never appreciates me.”
“I’m always the one who looks after everything.”
Oh and “everything” could be another dangerous word if you use it to generalize.
For example, when your partner complains, you respond with…
“Everything you say is negative.”
Phrases such as “he always” or “she never” are statements of what would be in a story. You know. The stories you make up in your head.
Though you may think that person may always or never do something, it isn’t actually true. It isn’t reality. Reality is changing from moment to moment. YOU create your reality. Always and never statements are a way of avoiding being present with those you love.
It’s a way of avoiding taking responsibility for your part in the situation by putting blame on them. By using those words you’re putting your partner in a box. Not allowing new possibilities and new behaviors to come in.
Listen to the stories you tell yourself when you are upset. These stories aren’t who you are. They don’t come from your heart, and they won’t enhance your relationships or enhance being heard and understood. Start noticing when you use this not so evident yet VERY destructive way of communicating.
Stop putting the one you love into a very limited box and way of being.
2. “You” Vs “I”
“I feel hurt” is quite different from “You hurt me.” “I feel hurt” is about how you feel. “You hurt me” is about blame. There is a big difference!
Use “I” statements when communicating. Using “I” statements instead of “you” statements is a way to communicate without blame. Authentic and loving communication uses “I” statements. It’s not selfish and doesn’t mean you care only about yourself.
“I” statements are direct and honest. “I” statements are a way to take responsibility for how you feel and actually take back your power.
When you say I…
“need more support.”
“would like time to myself.”
You are not blaming your partner for your feelings. “I” statements are factual and non-judgmental. Nobody can take away your reality and they help you get more connected to you. They help you to help others know what is going on with you.
For example, “I need gentleness” is an “I” statement, as opposed to saying, “You always yell at me,” which is a “you” statement that is blaming and creates defensiveness.
The word “You” is of course NOT a negative word, however, when used to victimize, judge, blame or control as in the statement, “You are mean” (instead of saying “I feel hurt”), your words become an attack that doesn’t nurture connection.
It’s a way of speaking where you place the blame on the other person for causing your feelings. In that phrase, “You are mean.” You’re not taking responsibility for your feelings. From this perspective, “you” statements are more self-centered and selfish than “I” statements.
Heart-centered communication – shows vulnerability
“I feel hurt” is vulnerable. “You are mean” or “You hurt me”, are attacking and far from vulnerable. You need to be willing to be vulnerable if you want true connection.
Using “I” vs “You” is a small detail that makes a big difference.
From today forward become aware of this simple skill of using “I” statements when you communicate with others. You will create a better environment for being heard and understood.
Become aware of when and how you use the word YOU. Make a conscious effort to not YOU people.
Remember this, and say it to your partner. “I won’t YOU, you, if you don’t YOU, me.” You’ll have a lot more peace in the relationship. And you’ll increase the chance of both of you being heard and understood.
3. Slow Down
Good communication requires space and time. We are all in such a big hurry. Slow down – wait to respond – breathe – actively listen.
The best communicators have simply learned how to….. slow down… and….be present. Your presence is the greatest gift you can give another that you love. Show them that they matter, stop what you’re doing and really be there with them as they communicate their concerns. Look them in the eyes.
There is a bad communication habit in comfortable relationships. I have done it and I have see it done. Once you are comfortable with someone and living with them you start having conversations across the house. Yelling or just talking and expecting them to hear you.
Then you get frustrated because you’re not being heard and understood. Or they get frustrated because they can’t hear you. Don’t try to converse across the house. Go to them and be present with them. Take the time.
Something that will help you to be more present with another’s communication is the next tip.
4. Repeat back what your partner said
Often we aren’t listening. We aren’t even trying to understand. We are chomping at the bit for them to finish so that we can respond. Do you know what I am talking about? Already formulating in your head how you want to respond.
This is the worst thing for good communication. It isn’t REAL communication! And definitely not connection! Though we may often think it is. People want to be received. Just like you, people are longing for being heard and understood.
One of the most powerful communication skills is to clarify what the person just told you. Use this simple phrase in your communication vocabulary.
“What I am hearing you say is…”
And then repeat back what you just heard and understood. You’ll be surprised, how often, what you understood, is not what they meant at all. ESPECIALLY when the two of you are in a conflict.
Asking for clarity and repeating back what you heard is powerful. But only when done with compassion and sincerity, NOT technique. Remember these words and use them – “What I am hearing you say is…” – And let it works its magic.
5. Tell The Truth
What a concept! However, it’s often easier said than done. What is your truth? Is it shrouded in other people’s agenda, or you wanting to keep the peace, and wanting to be accepted.
And you may consider yourself a very honest person but really telling your truth is not always easy. Our culture is filled with white lies because we don’t want to hurt somebody. This disempowers us. This disconnects us from each other.
What would it be like if you had better communication skills?
If you could speak your truth without causing major problems? What difference would that make in your life? The truth is you can’t avoid conflict. It is part of relating.
However, you can gain the skills to make them fewer and further apart and decrease the length of time they last. You know, like a wave instead of a tornado. And I can teach you how.
You statements and always and never statements aren’t speaking the truth. They are your perceptions. Perceptions can easily be distorted when you’re upset.
“I” statements about how you are feeling in the moment is much closer to your truth. Slowing Down and being present will help you get closer to your truth and repeating back what someone said to you so that you can gain more clarity will definitely support you in getting to the truth.
Those are the tips. I hope you take these to heart and give them a try. Be sure to practice, practice, practice. Make the people you love, your practice partners. You’ll have an opportunity every day.
The main part is becoming aware of it. That’s where you will begin to shift the behavior and your relationships will transform. Notice, really notice when and how you use YOU, always and never. Just begin with that.
To repeat the 5 tips…
- Avoid using “Always” and “Never”
- Use “I” statements
- Slow Down
- Repeat back
- Tell the Truth
And… practice, practice practice.
Make it part of your life.
Most of all become aware of your choice of words and how they impact your relationships. That’s where you’ll begin to shift the behavior. Your relationships will transform. Let your mate be your practice partner.
I’m Anna-Thea an author and educator. If this article was helpful and you would like to develop better communication skills and other relationship skills check out my online courses.