Well folks, the secrets out. We all know now that the key to a happy successful relationship is communication.
But… What does that mean? What does it look like in everyday life, like–how do you actually do it?
The truth is, communicating like a pro involves a lot more than having a snazzy vocabulary or being skilled enough to keep an audience at the edge of their seats as they listen to a detailed account of the sleeping habits of fruit flies.
Communicating well involves things like introspection, reflection, and clarity. This holds true in romantic relationships and every other type as well.
Let’s look at some of the common barriers that lead to a breakdown in communication, and things you can do to rise above.
People pleasers and everyone else who learned to suppress their feelings, listen up: Your feelings are valid.
Perhaps your partner does something that makes you feel a little jealous. Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and something many of us feel ashamed about. So rather than share how we’re feeling (and usually, the jealousy is only the surface emotion, beneath it lurks some shame or insecurity) we pretend we’re fine.
This “pretending” isn’t honest. It’s deceiving. You’re invalidating yourself and your emotions. And chances are internally, you’re likely boiling over with shame, anger, and hurt.
You Don’t Want to Seem Difficult
We all want to be agreeable—most of us anyway—yet, there are some situations where it’s important to stand up for yourself or share your opinion.
It’s fine to go with the flow if you don’t have a strong opinion about something or don’t care either way, but doing this when you actually do care is a way of dismissing yourself.
It’s okay to voice your opinion. It matters; you matter. Your voice has a right to be heard. The more you silence yourself, the more resentful you may start to feel and the more disconnected you may become from yourself overall.
You’re Not Clear
Sometimes, it can take a while to think something through before you can fully grasp how you feel about it. Communicating by the seat of your pants when you’re in reaction mode and haven’t taken the time to really identify why you feel the way you do—and instead lash out—can have a detrimental effect on a relationship.
It’s okay to share that you’re not sure how to articulate how you feel in the moment. It’s okay to take some time to think it through, to go inward and connect with parts of yourself that maybe feel wounded. Whatever it is, it’s okay to take a breath, honor how you’re feeling without needing to react, and name the emotions you’re feeling before you respond.
You’re Afraid to Be Vulnerable
Vulnerability is a necessary ingredient in healthy communication.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is like meeting yourself, offering up a hand and saying, hey, don’t worry, I’m here for you. That wasn’t your fault. We got this.
Part of being human means that there are things we’re ashamed of, ways we feel less than, not good enough. None of us are immune.
So, to give yourself the gift of acknowledging that, and choosing to move forward with honesty and authenticity? Wow!
The communication you will have, both with yourself and others, will shine as a result.
Deep Down You Don’t Feel Important
Sometimes it’s just easier to go with what the other person wants, right? There’s less conflict, less arguing.
And guess what? You’re also getting less out of the deal. Acquiescing over and over will leave you feeling lost, resentful, and like you don’t matter.
It’s your life as well, and you have every right to be heard.
Communication starts with you. Communicating well involves not trying to hide parts of yourself; being open and honest.
For those who are serious about learning how to have better communication, therapy is the way to go. Both couples counseling and individual one-on-one sessions are the perfect place to get down to the nitty gritty on effective communication.
Therapy offers valuable insight into how you communicate, how your partner or family communicates, and ways you can maximize communication to get what you want out of life. Individually, as a couple, or both.
Search ‘therapist near me’ to find a professional in your area. If you’re a Northern California resident, the Relationship Therapy Center is here for you. We have two convenient locations, call or text. We’re happy to share more about how we can help.
Therapy in Roseville, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, or Online in California:
If you are ready to change your life for the better, we can help. To begin therapy at our Sacramento area locations or online, follow these steps:
- Contact the Relationship Therapy Center and schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more.
- Meet with one of our talented therapists
Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include, anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.