Life is relationship that is hugely influenced by the quality of our communication. Relationship is an exchange of energy at many levels – physical, mental and spiritual being the main three. Effective communication builds, nurtures, empowers and nourishes the relationship itself with an awareness of the main principles of relational communication.
The Principle of Right Attitude
Our attitude is the foundation upon which our communication with others is built. Attitude begins with the first thought we create the moment we awaken in the morning. Is that thought an ‘I have to’ thought or an ‘I want to’ thought? For many of us, it is somewhat habitual to create the ‘I have to get up and go to work’ thought. In so doing, we create an attitude of reluctance signaled by a definite absence of enthusiasm. In fact we have not yet realized that anytime we say we ‘have to’ to do anything we are, in that moment, living our life reluctantly.
Some however, awaken and meet the day with a ‘want to’ thought, an energizing attitude that can connect us with others enthusiastically. So are you beginning the day with a reluctant ‘have to’ or an enthusiastic ‘want to’ attitude? It’s our first and probably most significant choice of our entire day.
The Principle of Reciprocity
If we are on the receiving end of another’s negativity, we first check to see if, in our history with that person, there were any moments when we gave them negative or grumpy energy. If we value the creation of a harmonious and positive atmosphere then we will start to ensure that we end any negative reciprocity from our side, knowing that whatever we do send to the other will eventually return. We may however need to be patient!
This is where leadership emerges in all relationships. The leader can receive the negativity of the other and, even when it’s ‘personal’, they have the capacity to return a positive energy thereby ensuring any cyclical process of negative exchanges is either broken or simply not established. Needless to say the underlying attitude of a leader is not a ‘have to’ but a very definite ‘want to’. The leader’s mantra is always YES!
The Principle of Respect
The ground on which every relationship stands or falls is respect. The most common mistake made in almost all relationships is that we expect to get respect. And when any anger or the subtle face of anger, which is resentment, is present there is an absence of respect and therefore almost no relationship. Those who know the secret of relationship building know that giving others unconditional respect helps to lift the relationship and therefore the communication to new heights.
The Principle of Self Responsibility
Each of these three principles is underpinned by the awareness of our personal responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings. Only when we stop projecting our ‘feeling states’ onto others i.e. mistakenly believing they are responsible for our feelings, can we maintain our respect for others. Only then can we create and radiate the highest quality of ‘attitudinal energy’ into our relationships through our words & actions. Knowing that it must come back!
A keen awareness of the power of our attitude, an understanding of the law of reciprocity, the unfailing ability to transmit unconditional respect and the absolute truth of our self responsibility all lie at the heart of relationship building and therefore the art of effective communication that will bear the sweetest fruit in the dance of life and living that we know as relationship.
Action: Take each principle on separate days this week and consciously check to see if your communication is being ‘shaped’ by that principle.
Adapted from Mike George’s article “Are YOU Communicating Effectively?” © 2010