School is quickly nearing its end.
I have learned so much, not only about the more technical aspects of communication, but also about people. Specifically the people here. Myself included.
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Poor communication is not just a problem for those who don’t take time to learn about it, it is a problem for everyone. People who are ‘professional communicators’ also struggle to communicate well within their personal relationships…
Having lived at Warm Beach Camp for the better part of 8 years I became pretty used to the personality quirks and places of conflict within that community. I did not assume I would find perfection here in Colorado Springs, but I also had no idea what I would find. I am extremely grateful that while I am coming to really love the people here, I am also seeing places of struggle. Knowing these things about people informs me about how to love them and also teaches me a lot about where I need to grow.
What I have learned about relationships in the last year is that I do not have to be afraid of conflict.
My natural tendency within a relationship where there is friction is to either avoid the things that activate the friction, avoid the person or seek to make myself different, even if that means accepting unhealthy or damaging behavior. None of these responses lead to deeper, healthier relationships!! Surprise!
But what is left?! What else can I do!?
Here are two things I attempt to practice.
1. Love the ‘offender’… or the person I have offended. Do anything I can to see things the way they see them and have a real desire for them to know that I love them even while I am expressing upset feelings… or even when they are expressing their frustration with how I have acted.
2. Step back from my feelings. Not to ignore them or invalidate them. Feelings have their place, but that place is not in the center of a personality conflict. If I can step back from my feelings- or set them down- while I engage in the issue, then I am much less likely to react to the other person and much more likely to stick with the plan of loving them.
So. If you and I get in a fight? Feel free to call me on this if I am not practicing what I have just said. “Peggy! Do you love me!?” (go ahead and shout it) “Peggy, are you letting your feelings cloud your view?”
I dare you! 🙂
But be prepared that I may ask you the same questions.