All month we’ve been talking about the difference between healthy and unhealthy communication, and how this is the arena where we make or break trust in our relationships. This week’s focus is on how to take the risk to share more openly and honestly, to build connection and emotional trust. There must be a million ways to show interest and share meaning, and a million opportunities for us to do so with others we care about. One particular way most of us hesitate to do is to show genuine interest in and caring for others. We feel it but saying it can really put us out there to fail, so we often hold back.
It takes intention and practice, and what I like about that is the idea that every five minutes you can start over, try again, get better at it, and cultivate it. It can slowly become an important part of your personal growth work. We are never done here. Below are some ways to get you thinking and get you started (or restarted) on the path to better connecting.
“Hey, how are you doing with…”
Your job stress.
The health thing your mom has going on.
Our financial stress.
How your life is going.
“That must feel _________________ to have experienced that/finished that/walked away from that/learned that…”
“Hey I wanted to check in about our relationship. How are you feeling about us lately?”
I realize it’s been really stressful.
I have been a bit grumpy this week.
We haven’t had much time for just the two of us.
With Covid, we haven’t been able to go out and do our usual.
“I want you to know how much I appreciate…”
How much you do around here.
How you’ve really been there for me lately with this thing.
I can count on you to be a strong partner
“I have a lot of respect for you because…”
You really stand up for yourself.
I can count on you to tell me how you feel.
You demonstrate great self-discipline.
You follow through when you say will do something.
“I feel really bad that I…”
Haven’t demonstrated as much support as I would have liked to.
Have been a bit distracted with work stuff this week.
Haven’t told you lately how much you mean to me.
Haven’t carried my weight around here.
By taking the steps to share vulnerably, with emotional honesty and transparency, you not only create emotional safety for the other, but for yourself as well. Speaking your feelings, showing interest and/or apologizing create trust in your relationships. You feel more connected and alive. So take a few moments today, tomorrow, this week or this month to step out there a little bit. Even if you start out “safe” with a note or a text, keep at it. You will eventually want better and better…and face-to-face.