One of my exes he gifted me the greatest advice about the permission to communicate. In the middle of an argument I was finding it difficult to communicate to him my frustrations. When I expressed this to him he replied with this:
"It's ok. Just try. If you say the wrong words we will keep talking until I understand you and you understand me."
Though not verbatim, it is the gist. Although this should be an obvious piece of advice about communication, I do not believe it is. If we are anything alike it is that we want to be heard, and we get stuck in the idea of being heard, easily forgetting that the person we are communicating with would also like to be heard.
THIS IS WHY COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL.
I have worked my ass off at communication, and here is the only thing I try to focus on.
ASK FUCKING QUESTIONS.
The hardest thing to do when we are upset is step outside of our thought cycle and try to see the situation differently. However, if you began to ask questions and engage in a dialogue about feelings, it lessens the load you are carrying. It helps you see and hear different perceptions and not just get caught up in your own personal story but recognize that your story may to be as valid as you think it is.
Now isn't that a dose of humility?
Recently I had an instance in which someone very close to me told me that I had let them down in a variety of ways. Ouch. I mean, I can hear that kind of thing and survive BUT the thing that hurt me, is that they never inquired about any of my experience. Now, my experience wasn't feeling hurt or let down so it may be a little less important than their feelings. However, inquiring about why I let them down would have led to an understanding of my own personal headspace and perhaps could have lessened the blow to their feelings by seeing that it wasn't personal to them and I would have done better had I known how my actions were coming across.
But if we don't ask, then we don't know.
So I try to use this technique when I am hurt. I ask the person I am hurt by questions about their headspace. Or if I am hurt by my own faults I ask people that I trust to be truthful with me on how I could improve and not repeat the process.
When my ex essentially said to me "we will talk until we work it out" he gave me permission to be myself and created space in our relationship to have dialogue. It helped me to see that when miscommunications happen no ONE party is at fault.
" It's critical: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Seeking real understanding affirms the other person and what they have to say. That's what they want." - Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People