- I wasn’t true to me
- My ex and I didn’t communicate
Yes, we had our once a year “are-we-going-to-stay-together-or-not” talks that bandaided us through for a few days, weeks or months, but it wasn’t enough.
I think lack of effective communication is a problem a lot of couples face, and one that I fully own up to as a problem I usually create for myself. Yet, it’s hard to be effective about communicating when you’re taught growing up that what everyone else thinks is more important than what you think. This goes doubly when you’re told by your ex that he doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.
So how do you learn to communicate effectively, get your point across, and your needs met?
This is something I am learning – and will share will you further in the upcoming Finding Your Voice ecourse – but here is what it boils down to for me:
- Speak the same language – no, I’m not talking about English v. German. In truth, I’m not sure how to do this effectively all the time, but my point is that both parties need to feel heard and understood and not just by using “I” statements to parrot what the other person just said. I am talking about true understanding – and maybe some empathy thrown in for good measure.
- If you can’t speak the same language yet, at least speak – let me give you an example of my not speaking when I should have and how remaining quiet didn’t help. J I broke down in tears Saturday night from emotional exhaustion (see my previous two blogs and you’ll get why) and my fabulous, wonderful man brought me a heating pad. It was a reasonable assumption that I might be crying because I was in physical pain. I had been complaining about short cycling again and cramping for the previous two days. But in the moment all I could think was, “You have no idea why I’m upset and this definitely isn’t the kind of pain a heating pad can fix.” I completely own up to the fact that it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t get it. He couldn’t as I neglected to communicate to him why I was upset in the first place.
- Ask for help – when all else fails, ask for help – from someone with experience in whatever area you are struggling with or from the person you are having communication issues with. Believe me; it’s easier to communicate effectively when you’re asking for assistance rather than picking a fight. But, of course, that assumes that you actually know what you want and need so that you can ask someone for help to get that need/want met.
So what did I want/need in that moment? What I needed most of all was my man. His time; his undivided attention. It’s been a stressful month and we both have been lamenting that we need a weekend to just do nothing. So what set me off Saturday night? His contemplation of hosting ecstatic dance every weekend at a local yoga studio. So much for our weekend of doing nothing. And that hurt. Of course the worst part about it was my withdrawal, my ‘suffering in silence,’ my refusal to speak my truth. My man’s not a mind reader after all.
I finally emerged from the bathroom where I had retreated. We sat down and I expressed my concern. He assured me that it wasn’t decided yet – it was something they were considering, but that we didn’t have to be there every weekend, even if the group decided to host a dance every weekend. In less than a minute, I felt better. Had I only communicated my feelings to him in the first place, I might have avoided a breakdown. Who knows?
What I do know is this: Speak. Get your needs/wants out there. And no, it’s not selfish. No one is ever going to figure out what you need if you don’t tell them. So do yourself and everyone else a favor and speak your truth. I promise you’ll be one step closer to walking in your power and embracing the Goddess you are!
What do you do when you’re struggling to speak your truth? How do you handle it and get your point across? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments section below.