I recently experienced some turbulence in my relationship, I thought I was communicating clearly what my needs were, but my boyfriend didn't seem to care.
As it turns out, I wasn't communicating what I thought I was, but I only discovered this by talking through with my Minister. I'd mentioned that I thought the compassionate communication workshop that New Unity had hosted recently would have really helped the quality of my relationship. He gave me a brief summary of what it was- "aim to communicate to the other person that you understand their perspective, their feelings, their situation etc."
I thought about this, and how I could do that and I spent a lot of time writing an email to my boyfriend, doing my best to show him that I could understand how he was probably feeling.
My instinct, my burning desire was to try and tell him what it was like for me, so that he would understand me, but I resisted, following the guidance and I created a heartfelt email.
Within a few hours the conflict had completely turned around, my boyfriend having read my email contacted me and suggested that we meet to talk. (He'd previously refused to respond to any messages and told me clearly not to contact him again!)
That one email where I showed compassion and understanding of his situation completely turned everything around.
So, when you get upset, do you practice compassionate communication? Or do you bluster on trying to get the other person to understand you?
Next time you're in a conflict situation, take a moment and think "How can I communicate to this person that I understand them?" You might be surprised at how it opens up the discussion and results in them understanding you.
As the phrase goes "seek not to be understood, but to understand".