Friday, August 22, 2014

Are You Ready To Just Ask?

Here's what I know:  I'm getting better at paying attention to my feelings.

Here's what I'm still struggling with:  Learning how to communicate what I'm feeling.

I don't sweep my feelings under the rug and pretend.  After all, some feelings may point to an unmet need or desire.

But - when I try to explain how I feel to someone, I can get frustrated when they don't seem to get what I'm trying to tell them.  Can't they just read my mind?  Highly unlikely.

My challenge is that what I want to communicate is crystal clear in my head.  It's the words that actually come out of my mouth that pose the problem along with the tone I take.

From my perspective, I'm stating how I feel in a positive way.  From my husband's perspective (for example), I can come across as angry or demanding.  So, who is right?

My answer?  Both of us.  It can be so easy to fall into a trap of assumptions.  I assume that what I'm trying to say is clear and kind.  My husband assumes I must be having a bad day since I'm so short and snippy.

And the lesson in this for both of to ask.  It's so simple and yet, I still struggle.

If you think about it - I can't know what kind of day someone has had.  And they can't know mine.  But, if I detect a note in someone's tone or pick up on a word or two that might point to something beneath the surface, I can simply ask.

And - I can ask in a way that leaves them open to NOT wanting to discuss it at all.  It's their right to choose what they'd like to share.  It's my choice that if someone's communication style is not a fit for me that day, I can excuse myself from the conversation and come back to it another time.

I can also allow myself to be on the receiving end of the asking.  If my kids think I'm upset based on something I told them, I can ask why they think that (vs. immediately getting defensive or firing back a quick retort).

The beautiful part in all of this is that my children are starting to mirror back my behavior.  It turns out the age-old advice is true - we learn best from other's actions and not necessarily from their spoken word.

So, I'm practicing 'asking'.  I know the more I practice, the greater my skill at open and respectful communication becomes.  Along with that, I believe, my connection to others becomes deeper.  And that deep connection is something we are all deserving and worthy of.

So, how do YOU work on your communication skills?  Any great tips or tricks you'd like to share?

Today, I set the intention to practice 'asking' as I do my best to improve my communication with others.

"Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good.  
It's the thing you do that makes you good." 

"Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, 
which makes it the architect of accomplishment."  

Affirmative Prayer:
Celebrating this beautiful late summer day, there is a deep knowing that there is only One Source of all that is.  It is bliss and joy, running through humankind just as a river runs from land to sea.  And it is a Divine Wisdom that is freedom from limitation and greatness beyond human belief.

Fully present to this greatness, I embrace the fact that this Divine Wisdom expresses as me, manifesting through me in all things seen and unseen.  I embody Spirit in all that I think, say and do.  And Spirit guides and directs my steps, leading me toward magnificence.

I am awake to all the possibilities for my life, and I welcome the sweetness that weaves itself through every moment as I am in community with others.  As feelings present themselves, I know that the right words and actions are always being spoken.  I let go of the worry that I may hurt someone's feelings with my words and I claim perfect calm and grace as I say what is in my heart.  I easily remember to let go of judgement and to ask questions that lead to improved communication.  And I affirm that the Source of Good is directing my path so that I am always in the right place at the right time, speaking with someone who may need me in that moment.

I give great thanks that the perfect words are always in my heart, waiting to be expressed.  I am filled with gratitude for the conviction of my faith that tells me I get better and better as I practice what's important to me.  And I am grateful for the potential in each person I meet to see their own possibilities for speaking their truth.

From a place of belief and trust, I release my word with confidence to the Divine Action of the Law, knowing it is already done.  I delight in the amazing results.  And I let it be so.  And so it is.

Photo courtesy of Alice Popkorn/Flickr

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