Bonnie Brinkman, MA, LDCII, Certified Imago Relationship Coach
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, we often give gifts of chocolates, flowers, or romantic dinners to those we love romantically. However, none of these material gifts is powerful enough to help us in creating the lifelong, loving relationships that most of us long for.
So, in addition to the chocolates, let’s take a look at a gift that heals and unites hearts from generation to generation: a better way of talking and listening.
If you and I learn to speak to each other without fear, we can talk about anything and experience connection, rather than polarization. Respecting each other’s differences is the key. Learning how to talk without criticism, and to listen without judgment, makes conversations emotionally safe, and communication possible. Having a safe conversation may not solve problems, but NO problem can be solved unless we talk with respect and listen with acceptance.
Accurate listening with curiosity and empathy are the essential skills of a thriving relationship. When I first heard folks talking this way, I couldn’t figure out how they made a conversation so safe and connecting.
Here are some things to ponder. Conversation is a shared exchange between persons. The “con” in conversation means “with”. Most of us, however, tend to talk “to” rather than “with.” In a safe conversation, both persons take turns talking and listening with curiosity and without judgment. But such conversations are rare. Most conversations are parallel monologues: both people talking, and no one listening! In a monologue, competing, controlling, dominating and winning are often the goals, and conflicts and polarization of the inevitable outcomes. In such interactions, the conversation itself becomes the problem and the issues are obscured.
Keeping conversations safe promotes the respectful exchange of energy and information. When we experience the connection that occurs, we co-creative a process that transforms negative energy into vibrant, healing energy.
So give those chocolates, and enjoy a lovely dinner, while speaking and talking in a way powerful enough to create that lifelong, loving relationship we all long for.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Bonnie Brinkman, and her wife, Darcy Jack, offer the 2-day training on Safe Conversations in the “Getting The love You Want” workshop for couples created by Dr. Harville Hendrix, and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt. Their next couples’ workshop is on February 15-16, 2020.