How To Better Connect in Your Relationships

Would you like to feel more connected in your relationships? 
How happy are you in general with your personal and professional relationships? 

If your answer is not 'VERY HAPPY', I suspect that you may have some challenges expressing how you feel and what you'd like from others. 

Do you ever judge your feelings sometimes as 'unacceptable' or 'embarrassing' and so don't communicate them as clearly and directly as you could? 

Here is a simple process to better listen to your feelings and to better communicate with significant people in your life: 

If you're not used to expressing your feelings, then start by building your emotional literacy through asking yourself the following question whenever you have a feeling come up: 

'Which of 5 categories does THIS specific feeling fit into?' 


Or, "is this feeling a mixture of feelings?" 

Then, ask yourself, 

"What is the message this feeling is telling me about what I'm needing or wanting right now?" 

Some examples of things you might want or need are in the following categories: 

Physical: food, exercise, air, touch, water, rest, warmth
Security: safety, protection, stability, boundaries
Interdependence: community, family, affection, and trust
Self-esteem and integrity: respect, appreciation, acknowledgement, achievement, responsibility, authenticity
Personal fulfillment: freedom, autonomy, fun, play, celebration of accomplishments/ grieving losses
Spiritual: Beauty, order, connection with nature, harmony, inspiration 

After you identify what it is you're wanting or needing, ask yourself, 
"Do I need to change what I'm doing or what I'm thinking to get what I want?" 

For example, did you need to appreciate yourself more to get your need for acknowledgement met OR...did you need to apologise OR hang up the phone to get your need for respect met? Or, did you need to shift your attitude to be gentler on yourself and be easier with your expectations? 

Let's look at some common examples of the messages of feelings: 

1. FEAR says 'Get Prepared'. 

2 ANGER says 'Something is NOT right!' A value you hold has been violated. You need to protect or restore something. 

3.GUILT says "I didn’t uphold my own standards or my image of myself. I need to either change my standards or change what I'm doing to come in line with my values."

4. SHAME says "I'm angry at myself for violating my own standards or values. What do I need to put right?" 

5. SADNESS says: "I have lost something. What do I need to let go of or what loss do I need to mourn?" 

Once you've identified what it is you're feeling and what it is you want, then you will be better able to communicate clearly with another. 

When someone else has any difficult feelings arise in response to you expressing your own feelings and needs, always remember that his or her reaction is only an expression of needs. If you hear anger or hurt as merely an expression of an unmet need, then you will be less likely to take anyone’s emotional reaction personally. 

Realise that others' feelings are merely signs of their own needs. If you can assist them to get those needs met, then you can help them to find peace and happiness again. 

I applaud you in your committment to create more conscious relationships. Your own happiness and the happiness of those close to you will be greatly enhanced by your efforts. 

Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist.  -  Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.