The Nobel Peace Prize 2015 was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia. A recognition of the power of COMMUNICATION.
Countries can create inner peace through communication instead of political fights. WOW! I don’t know how their communication techniques are. In this blogpost I want to introduce you to a very powerful way of communicating which has the potential to create deeper understanding and connection. I call it:
Conjunctive Communication – a way to create understanding, connection, peace – beginning with our every day relationships.
Our human relationships can grow and thrive when we find a way to be together in reciprocal respect and appreciation – AND when we are able to communicate with one another in ways which create communion instead of separation by feeling not understood. Most intimate relationships break up not because of missing love or attraction, but because of missing communication skills which lead us into an eternal downward spiral of disappointment, anger, desperation – which finally destroys the very basis of the relationship.
Ask yourself the question: how did I resolve the latest conflict between myself and xyz? Was I able to resolve it? Or is it still latently present even though we are “getting on well” together? What did you do in the face of the conflict? Did you run away? Or did you talk about it? And if so, how did you do that? Did your way of addressing the problem create the outcome you had intended?
Well, one thing is certain: we normally haven’t learned how to handle conflicts, neither at home nor at school. “Time heals all wounds,” they said. But we know that this is not true. Time helps to forget, but never HEALS anything. But we don’t want to talk about HEALING here, that important practice will be treated elsewhere. We’re talking now about PREVENTING WOUNDING, the wounds you create in others and the ones which are inflicted upon you by whatever circumstance and person,including you.
We all normally have the very best of intentions to make our relationships work – and we end up helplessly as we watch the communion fading away without knowing how to stop it.
Well, what I call CONJUNCTIVE COMMUNICATION, a communication practice which creates conjunction, communion and understanding offers exactly that.
It offers several steps for everyday situations that you can learn to use in those crucial moments to preserve the wellbeing of your relationships.
The first and most important step for the initiation of the conversation is to have a clear INTENTION in a positive form like, “I want to be confident, serene and in my power when he does xy” – as opposed to “I want him to stop xy” Or, even better: “ I intend to deepen our relationship with, trust in, and appreciation of each other.”
When you have come up with something like “deepening the love and understanding” between you two, then, as your next step in the process, you tell the other person why you want to have the conversation and you name exactly your intention.
So far, so good. Doesn’t seem too complicated. But remember that you will be opening such a conversation after something has happened between you, when emotions have come up or words had been said which might have been hurting. So telling the other person about your intention to create understanding again might not be the easiest thing in the world.
Next, before you ever talk about what has happened, you need to tell the other person how much you care for him/her and how much you appreciate xyz in them. This step more often than not leaves us feeling awkward, not knowing how to do that. Yep. Exactly this is THE POINT: In our personal development we need to grow and become able to handle well OUR OWN emotions. We need to learn how to calm down negative emotions and take responsibility for them – as well as for the positive emotions. And we need to learn to acknowledge them and at the same time not to be conditioned by them. “Becoming emotionally literate” is the task we need to take on – and relationships will open up “beyond our wildest dreams.”
You will understand that developing our emotional intelligence doesn’t happen in one weekend. It is an ongoing process where we become better and better in learning to become ONE with ourselves. Thus CONJUNCTIVE COMMUNICATION will become better and better the more you practice it – with yourself and your inner voices first of all.
The next step in CONJUNCTIVE COMMUNICATION is talking about the issue as pure observations – without any interpretations, blames and nudges towards the other person. This is equally foreign to our normal way of talking where we make little distinction between the facts and what we think about them. “Yesterday I noticed that you came home at 7pm” as opposed “ you were late again yesterday” which implies “you know you shouldn’t…. “
So now you are able to bring forward your issue without blaming or shaming the other – which doesn’t guarantee that the other will understand it as such because of his/her conditioning, then you can ask for a recognition of your needs, for an action, a promise or whatever – in a way the other person can accept it.
Then be open to what wants to unfold between you two. Keep paying attention on your emotions and notice when they get triggered by the other person’s words or actions, use your ability to handle your emotions and keep staying in the present. Be clear, loving, welcoming and hold open the space for the other person to meet you on the same level, so that both of you can have a fruitful conversation and feel your relationship growing and deepening all along.
Images created by the Integral Artist Scott Marshall