2005-06-03 / Columnists

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

We all have our own style in approaching life. When someone I love solves a problem and it is so different from the way I would have, it seems hard to accept the other’s point of view.  If I am trying to communicate in a loving way, it is important to understand why the other person sees it in a particular logic. 

We don’t have to agree, but in order to communicate, it is important to know what I feel, what the person I care about feels, and then if I want to say something, say it in a fashion that will be comprehensible to the other person. 

I may have to change my approach with each person who I love.

If someone you know only hears you when you yell, then yell. If another cannot tolerate yelling, then speak quietly. The key is to have the understanding. 

We don’t want the meaning of what we are trying to convey to get lost in how the message is communicated. When we can detach from the dialog a little, and observe the other person, patterns often emerge. 

Then if we use the pattern in a loving way, it becomes so much clearer in our meaning. If we must deal with someone outside of our small group, then we follow our instincts and let the reaction to what we say or do take its course with the other person. For example, if I am driving and I notice that some other driver near me is not paying attention to the road, I may have to honk my horn. 

I am honking it for both of our safety. What the other drives feels is immaterial to me. 

There may be someone close to you who is always put on the defensive

when a suggestion is given. You might want to ask questions, rather than give statements. 

If you acknowledge that you understand the other’s point of view, then the suggestion in a question format may be easier for the other to digest. We must also be careful of those who are intimidators. 

If you are very close to someone who loves to use power to win a point, the best is to show that you are not affected by it. In each situation a solution may occur such as ignoring, using humor or pushing back. If you ask why the person needs to resort to using manipulation, there may be a battle with the other person denying it. It is best to not allow the power trip to work. 

Even saying something as simple as “if you say so” may deflate the energy, and then you can say what the point was that you wished to convey. If there is no hope in communicating with someone you love, you may have to avoid certain topics for a while, until the person realizes that something is

not awaking your own self-doubt. The idea that you are no longer controllable may generate a series of tests, but eventually the other will realize that something has changed.

So, I have to know what I think, what the other person thinks, and then the best style to communicate with this important person.

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