Communication: Key To Harmonious Co-existence


  • Author Ruth Purple
  • Published January 1, 2009
  • Word count 549

You’ve heard it said many times before--no man is an island—and you recognize its significance. Yet, you find yourself alienated from friends and family because your communication skills fall between shoddy and downright atrocious. When criticized you either go on the defensive and argue to death what you think is the criticism’s lack of merit, or you clam up and refuse any further discussion. "Talk to the hand" is what you so often exploit to end the dialogue; however, you’re quick to censure other people, and often resort to name-calling and judgmental labeling. You admit it’s no fun, especially afterwards when guilt starts creeping in, but you say you can’t help it.

Your temper clouds your prudence, and your mouth lacks self-restraint. Pinning the blame on others for your own mistakes is another ego trip. God forbid that you’ll ever do wrong and, so far, you’ve been perfect. And when someone points out that you’ve committed a blunder, you laugh sarcastically and brush off the observation by saying, "Impossible!" Inwardly, you might own up to the indiscretion, but you’d just as soon be sucked in a twister than say that aloud. For someone so "tough", you get bruised rather easily. If someone declines a proposal you made, you take it as a personal attack.

From then on, that person is off your Christmas gift list and gets frosty treatment. Words that bite are easy to conjure, revenge sweet. But, darn, compliments are hard to dish and harder to take. You just can’t see the good in others, and when they see what’s good in you, you get suspicious at once. You hear the praise, but your mind processes it differently. Your brain tells you this person is up to no good. A few times of this and no one bothers to admire you anymore. Why would they when you’re about as fun to flatter as a 350-pound silverback gorilla? But there’s still hope for you and for people like you.

However, you must accept that effective communication is a sharing process, a swapping of perspectives. The first step is listening, which requires zoning in on the moment and really concentrating on what the other person is saying. Don’t focus on the anger or the accusatory tone; instead, look underneath the surface of intense emotions. You’d be surprised to realize that there is trepidation, insecurity, guilt, or a little of everything beneath, and all are tempered with affection. (Remember, if people didn’t care for you at all, they would not waste their time talking to you.) Give the other person time to talk and don’t interrupt; wait for him or her to finish before you put in your two cents’ worth.

And when it’s your turn to speak, make sure you do so calmly and objectively. Inject words of encouragement and, whenever possible, validate the other person’s sentiments. When communicating, take a rain check on your ego and a hard look on places where you can make improvements. Pretty soon, you’ll be a better friend, parent, sibling or lover. You’ll even learn how to accept compliments and truly believe you deserve them. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

The author of this article Ruth Purple is a Relationships Coach who has been successfully coaching and guiding clients for many years. Ruth recently decided to go public and share her knowledge and experience through her website You can sign up for her free newsletter and join her coaching program.

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