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Relationships & Communication

Relationships........are beautiful, difficult, complicated and messy.  We are in relationships in our personal lives with family and friends. We also are in relationships with others at church, work, sports, clubs, etc.  It can feel like a complicated web of truth, lies, trust and distrust on any given day.  

Relationships are steeped in the personality and the perceptions of each person involved.  Healthy relationships and healthy communication go hand in hand.  While we cannot ever 100% understand why specific people behave in specific ways, we can take clues from HOW they interact and react to certain things and use that information to interact with others in safe and healthy ways. 

Here are some tips:

  1. Know Yourself.  It is virtually impossible to understand others if you don't understand yourself.   Some of knowing yourself grows with time and experience.  However, there are tools to help you understand why you think and behave the way you do.  ​

    • Understand your Love Language.  Your love language will help you understand how you connect with others and how to build up others around you.  Click here to discover your love language. 

    • Complete a personality profile.  Dr. Gary Smalley created a personality tool that determines your natural personality "bent" and identifies if you are a Lion, Otter, Beaver or Golden Retriever.  It sounds a little silly but  it's quite accurate!!  This simple profile can help you understand yourself better.  Share it with others in your life and learn how personalities interact and how to best support one other.  Start with the profile by clicking here.

  2. Know others.  Our ability to understand others is rooted first in our ability to show empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes.  What is their reality?  What might influence how they think and perceive the world around them?  When you can be present with someone and seek to know and understnad (versus seek to be heard and be right) you will get to know them....who they really are.  And the real blessing?  You get to know yourself  and that person a little better every time you choose to be authentic and present with another human being.  And even better? God shows up in those  moments of authenticity and it becomes about letting Him lead instead of you trying to understand.  

  3. Communicate with respect, transparency and honesty. Let's be honest friends. No one likes people that are less than real with us.  It makes us feel unheard, unloved, disrespected and many other things.  We can try to be "assertive" and not be "passive aggressive" but at the end of the day, we really just need to be real.  We do not need to be brutal to be honest.  We do not have to show our weaknesses to be respectful and transparent.  What we need and what others needs from us is honesty, love and respect.  Here are some tips:

    • Show up to the conversation and be present.  Put away the phones and devices. Shut off all the background noise and listen. 

    • All communication starts with listening.  Listen to listen.  Stop forming your argument in your head as the other person talks. (Yes - I'm talking to you. Read that last sentence again.)  

    • Use reflective listening.  To do this, all you have to do is say, "This is what I heard you say......am I on the right track?"