What is true communication? August 31, 2015 – Posted in: Leaders and Teams, Relationships
I was talking with a client in a session recently and he remarked at how much his marriage had improved since (after encouragement from me) he’d told his wife how he’d been feeling about a certain issue in his life.
Interested in how a seemingly innocuous statement had had such a profound effect on a marriage, I probed a bit further. It turns out that despite having been married for over 35 years, my client and his wife had never communicated how they felt about things. They had communicated information but not feelings.
In telling his wife that he was struggling emotionally, he made himself vulnerable and ‘known’ to her. He wasn’t asking her to fix him or to empathise. He was just cleanly and clearly telling her how he was feeling and the result was a moment of true connection that had changed the dynamic of their relationship.
My client told me that he always thought he and his wife were great at communication…”She told me what we were having for dinner, what the kids were up to, what needed fixing around the house. I suggested where we might go on holiday next year, what was challenging me at work and what film we might see at the weekend. We rubbed along well together.”
My client and his wife were definitely communicating BUT they were communicating information only. There had been no space allowed for communicating feelings, ideas, dreams and fears. They had never seen the need. It was only now that my client was going through a tough time and had been forced to communicate on a deeper level that he and his wife had begun to see just how beautiful vulnerability can be.
Honestly communicating your feelings can create a space for deep connection, which is the essence of healing. Honestly allowing someone to know who you are at your core is the stuff of freedom and a deep, abiding confidence.
Of course, we must all communicate information but don’t forget to communicate who you are as well!