What is a communication collision. It’s when the conversation starts out ok but then someone says or does something that triggers, upsets, or frustrates you. You know, then you’re off in your head thinking of a great comeback, or not thinking and spewing whatever comes out. That’s what I mean by a communication collision.
When was the last time that happened for you? Maybe it was at work or maybe with a loved one? How do you resolve it? Can it be avoided?
As we were stated trying to explain ourselves to each other the words got louder and snarkier. Then we were yelling and striking below the belt with our words. It ended with us unhappy, avoiding and keeping quiet the rest of the day into the next morning. Meanwhile that voice in my head was going off on Bill. You so and so, you don’t ever, you always, blah blah, blah. That old tape playing in my head. Good old ego trying to justify myself. I was so frustrated and irritated that I felt justified and it wasn’t my issue to solve. So there.
In my morning prayer and meditation time, I was God smacked (no not gob smacked) with the fact that I literally 2 days prior had given a presentation on Conscious Communication for my Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle certification. I KNOW better than this and I have tools to prevent these collisions. Argh. How quickly did I forget it all and resort back to old poor habits? Ouch, that hurt. It also was a terrific learning lesion. We’re all on a journey and learning.
I brought to Bill the Conscious Communications for Emotional Well-Being from the Chopra Center, that I presented based in the work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. on Non-Violent Communication.
Five steps to conscious communication
1.Observation: Determine the event that triggered you
a.Key describe and observe without judgement or evaluation
b. Objectively without adding any of the “story”
2.Feeling – What are you feeling
a.Your responsible for Your feelings
b.Describe your feelings without blame or victimization words
3.Needs – What do you need that you’re not receiving?
a.Deepak Chopra describes 4 Fundamental needs: Attention, affection, acceptance and appreciation
b.Remember no one is a mind reader and knows what you need
4.Request – Asking for what you need
a.Clearly ask and be specific for what you need
b.Gift in being vulnerable to ask and perhaps not receive what you need
5.What is the blessing, gift in this situation?
a.What did you learn about yourself or the relationship?
So how did it go with Bill and I? It worked well and is an example of resilient communication.
To start, I shared a print out of the steps with Bill again and said I thought this may be of use for us if he was willing. I had mentioned it before my presentation so he was familiar with them. We both took some time with the process to sort out our feelings and needs not met. Steps 3 and 4 can take some time to really sort out what’s going on. We then came together and prayed beforehand. Then each went through the process one step at a time. We both listened with empathy and were honest in our needs and feelings. There was no yelling or snarks. It was an adult level-headed resilient conversation. We understood each other better and understood what each person needed. We still were hurt and not in 100% agreement but we could move through this collision. We considered the process useful.
Later Bill noted what a great idea it was. We’re both grateful for the opportunity to learn how to communicate better and improve our relationship. To help keep us focused we’ve got a print out the steps on the kitchen table for reference. I also keep a set in my office for myself. It’s come in handy with clients for their communication collisions with co-workers and loved ones.
I wish for you and yours that you have great communication and are resilient when you can’t avoid a collision.
Let me know how this resonated with you? Do you have any other resilient communication methods you use?
I have a few client openings for the fall. I’d be honored to partner with you to help you get unstuck and move forward. I’m still offering 30min laser coaching at a pay from the heart price. You pay me after we’re complete for each session based on the value you receive.
Yes, really, you set the price for the laser coaching and pay what makes sense for you. Click here to learn more & schedule a session.
Teresa – Leaning into Resilient Conversation – looking to avoid those collisions
Teresa Q. Bitner, M.Ed., PMP, ACC - Resiliency, Change and Loss Coach
Partnering with those who have been knocked down my life and want to build resiliency and move forward and live a bold life.
Author of Soul Love: How A Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again
PS. Want to learn more about Conscious Communication or Nonviolent Communication? Check out the resources below:
The Chopra Center article on conscious communication by Dr. David Simon, M.D.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication(NVC)
Instruction guide for NVC
Psychology Today Blog Articles