by Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk, MSPC
A Series of Articles: 4 of 6 – Ways to Increase Healthy Communication as Part of Developing and Reinforcing Long-Term Relationships.
Consider the following to further increase healthy communication:
- Consider the messages you were given throughout life and how each assists and/or hinders in communication. Then reflect on the deeper impact of your quality of life and your relationships. Positive messages support a healthy balance in building quality relationships. Internal relationship issues that have not been worked through and processed have the propensity to lower quality of life and increase difficulty in developing the relationships and the connections individuals desire. At times, mental health issues, (i.e., social anxiety, anxiety, depression, and/or trauma) will bring ongoing difficulties to communication and therein, quality of life. Each of the mentioned factors are important to consider when working to uncover internal difficulties with communication. Many times, seeking out the support of a therapist will assist in overcoming difficulties, minimizing symptoms, and increasing coping capacities towards stronger communications patterns.
- Consider how others perceive your communication. Through each interaction verbally, using body language, and facial expressions, you are sending and receiving messages. Having a level of awareness of yourself and others is essential to developing healthy communication skills. This minimizes disconnect and increases healthy and productive dialogue. At times, partners in romantic relationships will invest the time into couples therapy to improve communication even if no issues exist. This is a proactive and preventative approach. Considering the vast time spent together, this increases quality of life long-term.
- Proactive Listening- how well do you genuinely listen to others? Listening with the intention of hearing first and then articulating your point is essential. Additionally, developing the capacity to listen whether a person is excited, grappling with an issue, or discussing what happened throughout the day is a mindful process. For some, it’s difficult to quiet the mind. There may be underlying mental health issues, anxiety, ruminations, and/or a combination of issues with temperament and personality that would benefit from therapeutic intervention. Many times, once an individual seeks out therapy to develop the behaviors to adapt in an array of environments, symptoms become more manageable, which assists with decreasing layered complex issues in the future that are difficult to address.
- Humor is essential to life, without it, life lacks fun and is void of a beneficial and unique layer of human complexity. Engaging in humorous manners increases comfort and enjoyment. Yes, there are vast differences in the types of humor individuals enjoy. However, humor as a whole is beneficial in an array of situations and environments. For some, it takes time before you’ll have the benefit of seeing one’s humorous side. I use humor in my personal life, with clients, and in the classroom. I enjoy the development of building a genuine rapport with individuals, and developing a cohesive group environment in the classroom. This assists with the learning process and allows individuals to show facets of who they are as humans and academically, which includes encompassing a level of humor in the process. It takes comfort, mutual respect, and understanding communication styles to engage in humor. There’s a level of genuineness in humor that is difficult to find in other areas of life. Coupled with the factors mentioned throughout, humor is a way to reinforce healthy communication and essentially build a deeper connection.
- Trust and safety are vital and once broken, difficult to repair and rebuild. It’s import for each person to be able to trust one another within each area of the relationship, including individual strengths and weaknesses. For example, supporting the other through difficult times and vulnerability builds trust and safety. Additionally, feeling a sense of appreciation and pleasure for others during the achievement of goals and when positive aspects of life occur are healthy to the longevity of relationships. At times, clients grapple with how to engage in communicative behaviors that support giving and/or receiving trust and safety. There have been times where clients struggle with past relationships where there was a void of positive and supportive communication, manipulation was present, emotional neglect and/or harsh and abusive communication was experienced. Each are a source of pain and evoke self-protective behaviors. Self-protective behaviors are a way for individuals to cope through pain and trauma. Through therapy, individuals have the opportunities to begin to heal, learn how to set healthy boundaries, and develop trust in the self and overtime, other individuals- to work towards deeper, more meaningful, and fulfilling relationships.
In addition, it’s beneficial to have relationships where you’re able to share you as a whole human with many facets to unfold and share. Self-disclosure and sharing personal information is difficult for many, it’s also an important factor in investing in relationships. Each person has a story to tell, and over time, sharing more facets of each person’s story with the other is meaningful to developing intimacy through the elements of self-disclosure, building a strong source of support, and investing in meaningful relationship where trust and safety are present.
Lastly, trust and safety assist in developing the capacities to compromise in healthier ways and with less verbal conflict, increase mutual problem solving, engage in healthy reflective behaviors, and increase intimacy through open communication.
In conclusion, article 3 of 6 and article 4 of 6 in the series encompass the importance of healthy communication as part of developing and reinforcing long-term relationships. Communication is complex, individual to each interaction, at times, difficult, and in the long-term, immensely beneficial. Each area discussed are important aspects of healthy communication. In any relationship, communication is vital to the quality and longevity of a relationship. COMING SOON: article 5 of 6 in the series.
Learn, grow, & enjoy,