Deepen Your Connections
When juggling a variety of roles as a spouse, parent, friend, and/or working professional, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of telling, informing or instructing versus truly communicating. If you want to maximize the benefits of your relationships in regards to your weight and wellness goals, focus on communication -- being heard and actively listening.
The real intent of communication is to make a connection. That means expressing yourself in a way that you get heard and understood and actively listening so that the other person is also heard and understood.
To Be Heard + To Hear = To Connect
Be Heard and Understood
Often times, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that hurts. Unintentional meaning creates miscommunication. Determine which words match your current style:
- “You make me so angry I could scream” versus “I am so angry I could scream.”
“You” statements generate defensiveness. They also take away your responsibility for your own feelings.
“I” statements generate concern. They reinforce that you own your feelings.
- “You should get your weight under control” versus “ I am worried about how your weight is affecting your health.” “You should/need” statements generate resentment. They put you in an authoritarian position versus a partnership.
- “I think you are rude when you tease me about my weight” versus “I feel hurt by what you said about my weight.” Thoughts are debateable. A common response to them might be, “No, I’m not rude. I was just kidding.”
“I am (whatever feeling)” statements generate concern. They show you genuinely care for the other person’s welfare.
Feelings aren’t arguable. A common response to them might be, “I’m so sorry. I never meant for you to feel that way.”
Practice choosing your words carefully to better match your intent and make a connection.
When you really listen to others you are communicating that you respect them. This respect will allow you to develop stronger relationships. Improve your listening by:
- Making and maintaining eye contact.
- Opening your posture.
- Maintaining focus -- stop internal self-talk and thinking about how you’ll respond.
- Reflecting back what you hear -- restate or paraphrase what you heard in your own words.
Ongoing support is important for making lifelong changes. Creating healthy, deepening relationships can help maximize your success.