Wake up! It’s Mental Shift Monday, when we expand our minds with open discussion on topics YOU choose!
Today’s topic: Communication 101
Have you seen Avengers 2: Age of Ultron? This weekend my husband and I went to see it, like several million other folks across the globe. It was awesome…full of exciting action scenes and gorgeous CG. It was also loaded with examples of chaos resulting from poor communication between people with varying types of relationships. So I’m a total therapist nerd for thinking about communication skills while watching a Marvel flick, but it is what it is (spoiler alert- mild spoilers below)! Here are 3 key things we can learn from this blokbuster:
1. Our personal issues are one of the central causes of our communication problems. We must fix “me” to fix “we”.
Notice how every Avenger besides Hawkeye was toyed with by Scarlet Witch, resulting first in the creation of evil Ultron and second a huge rift in the team? Scarlet Witch took each person’s past and fears to drive a wedge in their communication. The same thing happens in our relationships. We unknowingly give our past and our fears power to manipulate our thoughts and behavior, inhibiting our ability to communicate in a healthy manner. The healthier we are (mentally, spiritually, and physically), the healthier our communication habits will be with others.
2. It is very difficult to communicate openly with someone when we are unsure of their agenda. Share feelings to build trust.
When Captain America found out what Tony Stark was really up to while working with the scepter, he was livid! And rightly so – trust was broken, and trust is a key ingredient to healthy communication. Without it, fear and/or anger can take control. Make trust easier to establish by saying what you feel instead of saying what you think. Seems easy right? Well, saying: “I felt hurt when you said that.”, is easier than arguing with a friend or significant other for 30 minutes when they say something mean. But it is also MUCH harder. We share our thoughts with others all the time, but sharing our hearts is the challenge that must be met and conquered to have healthy communication.
3. When communication breakdowns happen, take a break and regroup.
When everything fell apart during the first attempt to destroy Ultron, the Avengers bunkered down at Hawkeye’s house. Some argued. Some went off on their own to sort their thoughts then returned. Some shared their feelings with another person. All of these are good tactics to use when taking time to regroup. Yes, even arguing can be done in a way that is healthy and productive (think ‘debate’ with willingness to listen and be open to the opposing argument). If you take a step back, eventually a compromise or plan of attack for the problem can be reached.
What are some communication issues you have faced? Lets talk! In the meantime, try the tips we talked about today!
With Love, Janelle