Let’s talk

Talking, photo by Rakesh Vaghela, Leicester, United Kingdom,  conflict resolutionPoor communication is the No. 1 problem area in relationships. As long as people are prepared to talk about their feelings, needs, wants and give feedback about what they’ve understood the other person has said, then conflict can be transformed into negotiations for solutions. As people develop the art of expressing themselves appropriately they also discover that it is beneficial to the sender as well as the receiver of the message. Another important tip is that if the message is not being understood clearly then it is up to the person sending the message to rephrase it. Communicating effectively creates inner peace for all parties concerned in the interaction.

I was feeling uncomfortable about something
and decided to mention it to him
halfway through he became defensive
I felt anxious so I relaxed my breathing
and then started again “I mustn’t have been
clear in what I said so I’ll start again…”
changing how I expressed my thoughts
in so doing I felt calm again
then a more appropriate message came out
he too became more relaxed and from his reply it
was apparent? that he understood my point
although we did not agree
we agreed to disagree and
that was good enough for me
so our friendship strengthened

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Male identity suffers

Men friendship 2, photo by Piotr Bizior, Budapest, Dolnoslaskie, Poland, good mates As a feminist, I am glad that the women’s movement has advanced the status of women, even though there’s much more to be done. Nevertheless, I have noticed that the male identity suffers through this process of achieving equality. Many men have become over cautious at being light hearted with women because they fear allegations of sexual harassment. Yet many women miss the harmless flirtations that took place between men and women. In becoming politically correct, rightfully so, perhaps we have thrown out the ‘baby with the bathwater’. In time, these men will feel safe to use respectful flirtation with women.

my communication is coloured by flirtations
a funloving aspect of my personality
which lifts my spirits often
the type of flirting I am referring to is one that
maintains a respectful position in relation to whoever
I am communicating with regardless of gender
I have noticed though that more men have become
quite reserved in their mannerisms and
I suspect that this is due to
an attempt to be respectful towards women
however, I believe the male identity suffers
in that process and they become tense
perhaps we need to role model
respectful flirtations more often
so that we don’t become overly serious
in our efforts to ‘do the right thing’

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‘busy’ addiction

Busy people, photo by Melanie Kuipers, Meppen, Germany, another addictionIf we are saying we’re too busy then it’s an excuse to be on the addiction treadmill. The busier we become the more unmanageable our life becomes. Too busy to sit and talk to family and friends. Too busy to answer emails. Too busy to telephone or visit. Too busy to remember to be relaxed. All this makes us more stressed and obsessed with being busy. Before we know it, we suffer emotional and physical burnout. Then we are forced to stop and take stock of our hectic life and how incompetent we have become. We must not let it get that far, because the road back is then a slow one and it takes so long to become relaxed, healthy and efficient once more. Stop and make an action plan to slow down before it’s too late.

I did not notice how busy I had become
and the more I did, the more I wanted to do
I was a runaway train and everyone noticed
except me
how excited I became with my newfound energy
nothing was too much as I spread myself thinly
I was also snappy, and other people’s
inefficiencies were insufferable to me
then my world crumbled – loss of money
loss of purpose, loss of efficiency
my self esteem was affected, my health suffered
the road back to emotional, physical and financial security
was slow and laborious
nevertheless I found my way
with the help of my family and friends
from that day on I watch out for the
signs of busy addiction because
the consequences are horrendous
for me and those around me

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The clown in addiction

Clowns 2, photo by Sasha Davas, Australia, double bindIn life we need fun and laughter to stay healthy. When it is missing then we turn to substances and or processes that lift our spirits. Unfortunately, using such means results in repetitive behaviour which is not fulfilling because eventually whatever we do isn’t enough. The clown in addiction can be a cover up for immense unhappiness and low self esteem. In other circumstances, the clown is a fun performance for the audience to enjoy.

as she spoke to me about the sadness and abuse
she had experienced all her life up till now
she chuckled often at the most traumatic recollections
as a therapist I was obliged to give her feedback on this
pointing out that incongruous behaviour was not unusual
in codependence and addictions
she quickly understood the message about
the clown in addiction
and this insight, although it hurt a little
no pain no gain they say
helped her to be more authentic about
her feelings and therefore closer
to resolving the turmoil inside
serenity at last

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Betrayal

Broken Heart, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/558914, broken trust, Many of us are devastated by betrayal. In other words, the moment something happens, when we least expect it, that shows we’ve put our trust in the wrong person and have been shocked by their betrayal. We trust that someone will treat us the way we expect, and hopefully by the example we set. Then they do the unthinkable – they stab you in the back. What’s worse is that it was not expected because…either we are not hearing clearly what they are saying or we are in denial about how they feel about us. It all comes down to how the unexpected dishonesty can be a major betrayal. Better to learn from the experience instead of suffering too much because it happens to the best of us.

I was their golden haired girl
everything I did was successful
they raved about my achievements
they were also so friendly that
it came as a shock to find out
that it was not what it appeared to be
some were true and a few were not
but it was the few who ran the project
and I found myself on the outside looking in
what a feeling of betrayal
but I console myself with the fact that
I am still friends with those who were sincere
and the others don’t matter any more

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Loneliness and despair

lonesome photo by Dawn Allynn Tijerus USA www.dawnallynn.com despair painQuite often we overlook the pain men go through when their relationships go sour. This happens in the same way it does for women. However, women are more likely to share their distress whereas usually men are not so transparent. Some turn to drugs and give up on happiness. Loneliness and despair set in. They? isolate to deal with the loss and hurt. Nevertheless, the majority are survivers and in time they get to stand up and face Life again.

how bewildered he was when his partner left
what had gone wrong? He thought they were happy
was he not listening, should he have noticed more?
why didn’t anyone tell him? Maybe he could have
done something to save their love before it was too late
the alcohol and drugs ease the pain but
he still wakes up to the loneliness and despair
as he realises it’s over his mind plays tricks on him
is it really over? holding on to that empty wish
he reaches for the bottle!

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Misunderstood messages cause anger

anger  photo by EMiN OZKAN Izmir, Turkey http://www.sxc.hu/photo/492238 frustration conflictHave you noticed how sometimes a message is not received as intended? When misunderstood messages happen then it’s the shared responsibility of the originator and the recipient. The recipient needs to check out what they hear if it causes frustration and anger, then the originator needs to communicate their intended message differently in the second or third attempts. The initial feelings are to lash out in anger when conflict occurs. In an effort to resolve the conflict all parties have the responsibility to put the effort into transforming that conflict to agreement or at least an understanding of the interaction intended.

woke up from my afternoon nap very rested
I needed to share something with you by phone
much to my amazement it annoyed you
and your voice sounded harsh as you
expressed your frustration!
it felt like a slap across the face to me
we did this unpleasant verbal dance for a while
then I remembered that misunderstood messages are
communication gone wrong
so I let go of my anger otherwise it could get nasty
and instead took responsibility for not expressing
the intended message accurately
a calmness overcame me and
our conversation ended amicably

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