The importance of communication in our lives reigns supreme.
Since the day we were thrown into the world and the doctor smacked our ass, the ability to communicate verbally has kept us around for quite some time.
As we grow older we obviously get a little more skilled at communication.
The hungry and crying baby becomes the inquisitive and influential youth, who then moves into the role of the “all-seeing,” adult.
The problem with this is that we do not always see or hear “all,” when it comes to communication. Especially when it’s two people involved in a relationship.
Whether you’re talking to a spouse or loved one a simple verbal conversation operates on many hidden levels.
Communication in relationships is one of the most valuable skills a high-quality partner can acquire.
A great way to become a better spouse or partner is to work on becoming a better person via understanding and personal development.
We do this by learning the different levels and intricacies that are in play.
Hidden Level 1 – How We See Ourselves
This dynamic involves how two people view themselves as they talk to each other.
We all have a self-perception of who we are. We do and they do.
This happens simultaneously and helps outline roles. Parent-sibling, Supervisor-Employee, and so on.
The key to mastering this level is recognition. Knowing your surroundings, the circumstances, and what your abilities and expectations are is pretty much a given.
Recognizing the other person’s view, however, is often overlooked.
See, as humans we’re inclined to look out for ourselves. It’s in our DNA, and well… human.
Taking that additional step (outside of ourselves) allows us to advance and become more skilled at interpreting and empathizing with others when need be.
In verbal communication, practice the art of being and seeing yourself as a person who anticipates the needs of others prior to asserting or addressing your own.
Hidden Level 2 – How We See Them
In addition both sides seeing themselves in their own way at the same time, we also have our own individual views of the other person.
How we interpret, feel, and what we believe about another person is something only we are able to experience.
This is unique to only us, and plays a significant role in how or why we would want to understand them and/or be involved with them.
Of course, there will be many factors (of the past, present, and potentially future) pooling together to help shape the image for you.
It’s up to us to weigh the good and the bad in order to position ourselves with those around us correctly.
Don’t forget they are running the same interpretations about us in their minds too.
Hidden Level 3 – How We’d Like Them To See Us
The last of these hidden levels in this important social currency is how we’d like the other person to see us. This is a different perspective from how they view us (as in Level 2) but may yield the same result.
What we’re talking about is the projection and appearance we’d prefer others to pick up on and see.
Most of us have the desire to be liked, admired, and loved. It’s another human trait encoded us.
To master this level is strikingly simple: Practice and make it habit to be aware of and utilize the first two levels.
By seeing and believing yourself to be a person who has a genuine concern about others and taking the initiative to understand their needs (Level 1) we naturally become more understanding and attractive to them (Level 2).
A common mistake many make is to start off on this third level and get wrapped up in how we’d like the other person to see or view us.
Pushing or try to “sell,” yourself or your point (in a discussion or debate) will only lead to resistance.
Think of it like being approached by a used car salesman or that pushy department store clerk.
We know whats coming so we cringe inside and say “just browsing.”
The Missing Levels
Also be aware that body language and other physical characteristics we portray all play a part in the communication process.
Proximity (spatial relationships), haptics (touch), vocalics (tone, pitch), as well as kinesics (postures, gestures, etc.) are all very valuable to learn about, understand, and incorporate.
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Now I’ll ask you… have you had trouble communicating with a spouse or someone close to you? What are some ways you helped yourself overcome or develop in that area? Was it easy or difficult for you? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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