Do this and your relationships will prosper! This message is filled with practical tips and tools that will change the way you do relationships forever. I wish I heard this 10 years ago!
Credits: Teaching by Dann Farrelly, BSSM First Year 2015/2016
‘BRAVE COMMUNICATION’: BSSM LECTURE NOTES
WHEN IS IT A GOOD TIME TO DO BRAVE COMMUNICATION?
1. When you feel or hear a strong emotion.
2. When you are confused.
3. When you need to resolve a conflict.
The quality of life depends to a large extent on the meaningfulness of communication. However, how much time do we actually spend educating ourselves about communication?
We speak about 16,000 words per day (on average). That excludes the use of emails and text.
Most of us only learn how to communicate by watching our parents or interacting with our peers. The good news is: you have learned your communication style, so it is something that you can unlearn and step away from. You can learn how to communicate effectively, to share your heart, to hear someone else’s heart, etc.
It is not always WHAT we are fighting about that is important – it is often HOW we fight.
GOALS OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
- Know what’s in your heart
- Hear what’s in the other person’s heart
- Create a new normal together
You can not change people by manipulating them. Many people live their life in an unhealthy cycle: little, little, little, the BIG talk. This is not sustainable. Don’t delay important conversations. Have them in the moment.
Entering into brave communication
- Brave communication requires that we are humble AND powerful.
- Empowering other people means that you make them feel powerful.
- Be hopeful. Come to a conflict with hope, because you should enter such a conversation with preparedness and prayer.
- Good communication requires that we exercise the fruit of the Spirit, specifically self-control.
- Never hide a message in a tease.
- Teasing isn’t a sin, but sometimes people don’t receive it very well.
- Your head will often lie to you about how you are feeling, but your body generally won’t.
Ephesians 4:25-26, 29
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
USEFUL TOOLS / THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Crises and conflict are somewhat normal in close relationships. Crises and conflict often lead to deeper relationships.
- Think ‘win-win’: Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says we should work towards win-win solutions, not win-lose, lose-win or lose-lose.
- When people have finished talking with me, do they feel more powerful? People aim for 2 things when they experience conflict: 1. They want to save face, i.e. keep their self-esteem in tact. 2. They want the ability to make choices.
- “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen R Covey)
- Sharing builds trust
- Connect first and do content second. Always prioritise your connection with the other party
- Be cautious about giving advice. Generally, you should ask before giving advice.
- Your word choice matters
- Listen like you mean it
EMOTION MATTER (FEELINGS ARE A BLESSING, NOT A CURSE)
- Do not believe that your emotions are the deepest part of you and also don’t stuff your emotions.
- Even the Lord has emotions, but He isn’t ruled by them
- However, emotions are not ‘your deepest you’ (as claimed by Freud)
- Covenant, training, etc. help to moderate your emotions.
- We believe our emotions are permanent, but generally they are not, e.g. you are sad, have a meal, and then you are happy! Or you sleep… or have mediation (both legal and illegal).
- Emotions are not always rational. However, if you don’t value someone’s emotions (even if it is irrational, e.g. fear of the dark), then you give someone the impression that you don’t value them.
- Display your positive emotions, but ‘say’ your negative emotions.
- The more hidden your feelings are from yourself and others, the less alive you are.
- 4 Emotions: Sad, mad, glad, fear. Every single emotion you have is tied to one of these. It is important to know that there re different levels of intensity of your emotions.
- Your head will lie, but your body won’t.
- Build intimacy by sharing your emotions. “I feel hurt when… I feel angry when…”
LISTEN LIKE YOU MEAN IT
- Reflective listening, e.g. ‘So you hate doing homework?’ etc. It helps to keep the focus on the person talking, not on the person listening. Mirror what you heard.
- Active listening: listen for the emotion before the content.
- Summary: restate the main points.
- Essence: capture the essence or core message of what was said.
Never give the idea for people that you have studied them and you want to sort them out.
Sometimes God takes away an emotion immediately, but sometimes He wants us to work through emotions the old fashioned way by talking to Him and or community.
I-MESSAGES, IT-MESSAGES AND YOU-MESSAGES
- It-messages: you don’t take ownership, e.g. “It is cold in here.” Often used with sarcasm.
- You-messages: Normally used during problem solving, when someone is confusing, or experiences strong emotions, e.g. “you always do that!”
- I-Messages: “I feel.. when… because… ” Ideally, it ends with a “So let’s” or “So I was hoping that…” or “So how about…” so that you can start a new normal.
Something might be working for one person, but not for another. It is then good to say, “This might work for you, but it is not working for me, so it is not working for us.”
It is fine to say “I feel uncomfortable with…”, “I am concerned…”, or “I feel concerned…”.
However, don’t say “I feel unsafe…” because this implies that the person that you are saying this to is unsafe to be around with.