Words are a powerful tool. Knowing that our choice of words can effect others is pretty significant.
Postive conversation and comments have been proven to elevate oxytocin levels in the body. The effects are short lived but well benefited. They help us as a recipient communicate, trust and work with others, while sending good vibes through out our body.
This goes for yourself as well. Self-Talk, the voice giving you feedback? That too can have negative and positive effects on our body.
I wanted to share in this post some of the hard lessons I learned and things that have helped me (both as a recipient and giver) with communication.
If you have anything you would like to share/add that helped you, please comment! I’d love to hear feedback!
Hard Lesson: Compassionate Communication
I mentioned in a previous post how as a friend/family member trying to help others that are grieving over a heart break and depression, I thought I was giving the best advice ever and yet the recipients were not happy with what I said. I did not understand why my words were not effective.
It was until I was a recipient of those said words and I realized how ineffective they were, even with my best intentions behind them. I wanted to apologize to anyone I had ever said those words to.
So for your viewing pleasure, I will share those said words, why they did not work (at least for me) and what did work for me.
After a BreakUp
1. Reminding the other person of other relationships/interest that did not work out
Why I didn’t like it: I really hated when someone said this to me. I am already super critical of myself, why are you reminding me of what I consider failures? Shouldn’t you be building me up rather than taking me down?
What worked for me: What did I learn from the relationship, both good and bad, and what would I look for in my next relationship. This draws the focus away from negative thinking/egoic response and more into core values. It also makes me feel like you are supporting me.
2. You’ll get over it
Why I didn’t like it: Yes, this is a very true statement. That doesn’t make it any easier. It’s also very dismissive comment. Whenever I hear a response similar to get over it, it makes me think the other person is disinterested and wants to end the subject. I know that as a person who has also said the phrase, I didn’t mean it in those intentions, but I see now why they don’t work.
What worked for me: Acknowledging that the relationship was special. To me this is inverse of you’ll get over it. By making it special, you have acknowledged the recipient as special. Doesn’t it also feel good to acknowledge each relationship as unique? Each one is a unique experience that should be acknowledged for what its worth. By saying words like you’ll get over it, you make the experience insignificant, whether you mean it or not. It will really do wonders for the other person and their ego by acknowledging that the relationship was special.
3. There are plenty fish in the sea
Why I didn’t like it: Another very true statement. Right now all I see is this one rainbow colored fish in a sea of black that I can’t imagine life without.
What worked for me: Going back to acknowledging the relationship was special, acknowledging that the other person was special, but also ask Why do you think the relationship didn’t worked out? Specifically, what didn’t you like in the relationship? For me this drew me away from my negative thinking – what did I do wrong to cause this relationship to end – to more future thinking – what would i like in my next relationship. However I do want to explain the next phrase they may come up in conjunction with this.
4. Saying the negative traits of the other person
Why I didn’t like it: I am not at all into going over someones negative traits and bashing them for it. To what purpose does this serve? Do you really feel good after its done? Sure for a moment, but I feel worse than better after it’s done.
What worked for me: What did I learn about myself? What were some qualities that I found I disliked about the relationship? What qualities brought out the good characteristics in me? This draws my focus away from the relationship and more into a reflection of myself in a positive light.
1.Just be Happy
Why I didn’t like it : If it was that easy, I would press that easy button so fast and hard. I am also very guilty of saying this line. I truly am sorry if I ever said this to you
What worked for me: I can’t imagine how you are feeling. This makes a person feel unique and special. It also gives a door in which they can open up more to you.
2. Think happy thoughts
Why I didn’t like it: This isn’t Peter Pan, think of a wonderful thought and I’ll fly off and be happy?
What worked for me: Spend time with me and be patient. Suggest one on one time, do a craft, go for a walk, anything to get me out of my head. Hey sometimes thinking happy thoughts helps, sometimes it helps the brain rewire a little bit. I think this is one of those, let the person come to the conclusion don’t tell them to do it type deals.
3. Have you tried doing things that make you happy?
Why I didn’t like it: At my worst, I didn’t want to do anything. I felt like I didn’t deserve it or it reminded me of things/people that hurt me or lost. It was a painful reminder
What worked for me: Trying something new on my terms. Finding a new hobby or craft can help us find an outlet and get us out of our rut. With new items comes new skills to learn, which also helps to distract.
4. Just get over it
I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory. There is no getting over it, there is coming to your own terms with how you personally deal with it. Maybe you meditate or work out…
By telling someone to get over it, just in line with the last statements… its really dismissive! People want to be reminded that you are in their corner, tell them If you ever need anything I am here for you, it will mean so much.
5. I know what you are going through
Why I didn’t like it: You may go through the exact same thing, but that doesn’t make it the same at all since its two different unique people. Everybody goes through struggles, yes, its true. How you deal with it, is the difference. I had so many people tell me this, I got frustrated and wanted to scream.
What worked for me: I can’t imagine what you are going through. I had 2 people say this to me, and both times, I felt like someone was actually listening to me. Someone finally understands.
1.They would not like to see you like this
2. How is someone else doing
3. Time will heal
4. It will go back to normal
5. I know what your going through
The thing I want to point out about grieving, is that grieving is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t feel bad if you feel like you are stuck or you keeping going back and forth on the stages of grief. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kübler-Ross_model) The biggest misconception is that grieving stops.
Grieving never stops, its more how you deal with it.
So to address the statements and quotes above and what I would have wanted, I figured it would be best to say at once.
Ask someone how they are doing, talk to them and be with them as much as you can. The worst thing I felt was when no one wanted to be around me, intentional or not. I already lost one person, the hole of where I felt them in my life is empty, please don’t leave me alone.
Things that have helped in General
1.When talking to someone, give them your full attention.
Nothing hurts more than knowing I am talking about a hard subject, and your attention is diverted. Give someone your full attention, put you phone away, mute the tv, get away from distractions. When having a conversation with someone in which I have their full attention, I feel important and that my thoughts and feelings are being addressed.
2. Be mindful of your body communication
Expanding off of giving someone your full attention, if your body language is open and receiving – you are faced towards them, your arms are relaxed and at their sides, you are solidly focused on the subject and your attention is with them – the other person is going to be extremely grateful. If your body language is closed off – arms folded, eyes diverted, body turned away – it says it all. I don’t have your attention.
3. Don’t take my silence as me not want you to be there. I want you to be there. Really I do. Just you being there and having company is all we need sometimes.
4. Engage in Compassionate Communication – the title of this post and my main point; compassionate communication is when you listen and speak in order to have the most effective communication. The communication comes from the heart and engages both parties in a healthy way and deepens the bond between the two.
The Golden Gelly Nuggets
1. Turn the break up into a positive self boasting session
2. Reflect on the lessons learned
3. Everyone grieves different and thats ok
4. Make the person feel unique
5. Give your full attention
6. Engage in Compassionate Communication
Please share any of your thoughts, comments, what’s worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you, I would love to hear the feedback!