In the wee hours of this morning, I was rushing through a few deadlines. I work abnormal hours because as you know, I live in South Africa and primarily work for an agency in Boston, Massachusetts. Generally, when everyone here at home is sleeping, I work. It’s an exhausting cycle that I am trying my best to maintain. When I have to get some rest and sleep, it’s closer to the time that everyone has to wake up to prepare for the day. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom, I do try my best to schedule naps with my daughter during the day. But, in some cases, I can’t because I have deadlines due during the day. Do you know when it feels like you’re just winging it mostly? When you’re doing all that you can to show up and do the best that you can each day? That’s what I have to go through every day. Balancing motherhood and work is so difficult. So, I look forward to the moments just before I finally fall asleep at 3 in the morning and I get to stare at my daughter’s peaceful face.
Sometimes, like this morning, she’ll say something in her sleep that’ll make me feel so happy. I’m certain that she was dreaming about Max (our furry new friend). She was laughing in her sleep and calling out to me while she faintly said “puppy, puppy”. I can’t describe how this made me feel. Especially after a long night of writing copy on lengthy topics. At that moment, I wished that we could communicate efficiently. I wished that I could ask her about her seemingly vivid dream. I also wished for coherent communication when she starts crying for something that I can’t understand. How often do you have to use guesswork to find out what your child or someone else is feeling because they don’t know how to tell you?
Putting an Emphasis on Healthy Communication
Healthy communication is one of those things that you usually take for granted. In most cases, you are not even aware that you struggle with effective communication. To you, stringing words into a logical sentence is enough. There’s nothing else that you consider when you think of what it means to communicate with the people in your life. The fact is, whether it’s your relationship with your child or your partner, communication is an essential part of maintaining a healthy balance in any relationship.
You’re likely to clash and have conflicts with the people that you love. But, when you have a healthy style of communication, it makes it easier to get through conflict. Moreover, it should help you to build a healthier and stronger partnership. Everyone hopes for a healthy relationship with the people whom they care about. Yet, many people don’t want to understand how much work needs to be done to ensure a healthy style of communication.
I have noticed how frustrated my daughter gets when I struggle to understand what she’s trying to tell me. She ends up crying sometimes because she doesn’t know how to get me to acknowledge what she’s trying to say. Can you imagine living your life with people around you struggling to understand what you’re trying to say? The fact of the matter is that clear and effective communication is a crucial factor for creating and maintaining genuine and lasting relationships. Imagine trying to have a relationship with someone who either misunderstands you. Or worse, a person who doesn’t engage you on your level? It can be difficult to navigate any relationship no matter the dynamic of said relationship.
On the other hand, talking about your feelings isn’t the only way that you should consider being effective in communicating. Listening is one of the most crucial aspects of healthy communication. Yet, we don’t always get this part right. In fact, it’s common for you to unintentionally centre yourself when someone is trying to tell you how they feel about something. And in certain cases, if you’re not someone who is used to talking about things, it can be difficult to dig deep into what the problem is.
5 Effective Ways to Improve Communication in Your Relationships
There’s a lot that goes into learning how to communicate with the people around you. If you’re struggling with healthy communication, you’re not alone. This is why I decided to share these effective tips with you to help you find ways to improve.
- Ask open-ended questions. This should help the other person to choose whether they want to share certain information or not. It also reduces the pressure to dig deeper into things that you’re not ready for.
- Learn to pick up on nonverbal cues such as tone and attitude. Sometimes, you can pick up more from someone’s facial expressions than you do with words.
- Don’t try to assume what someone is saying. Listen to what they’re telling you. When you make assumptions you open up the possibility of miscommunication.
- A conversation is something that happens between two people. It should easily flow back and forth. Let someone know when you feel like they’re overtaking the conversation. You’d be surprised to find how easy it is for someone to do this without being aware.
- Understand that you’re different people. What works for you will likely not work for your child or partner. It’s important to find common ground to maintain healthy communication.
At the of the day, you should always remember that communication is a skill. This means that if you don’t have a handle on it just yet, there’s always room for you to improve. In my life, I’m always trying to find ways to help my daughter improve her communication. We read, we write, we watch educational TV programs, and I talk to her like how I talk to an adult. If you want to teach someone to create a healthy style of communication, you should be willing to put in the effort. Sometimes, a tantrum can hinder our progress. But I’ve learned that there’s nothing that a few hugs and kisses can’t solve, for now.