Tips for Healthy Communication
As we are in the world of duality, challenging times and people are going to arise. These challenges are our forgiveness opportunities, catalysts for healing when used correctly. As some of us are students of A Course in Miracles, we want to honour the Course's teachings and use these challenges for peace, so we get to a place in our minds where nothing can affect us. As we strengthen our commitment to thinking with Spirit, which is known as Right-Mindedness, we can help ourselves by setting healthy tones within our environment by welcoming peace.
We are taught in the Course that we are always teaching. We are either teaching the thought system of fear or the thought system of Love. When challenges will occur, you can be a teacher of Love and handle them with peace.
Here are my go-to spiritual tips for how to be Love when faced with a challenging conversation...
~ When I am faced with a tricky situation, I always take the time for reflection to see if I need to say anything or if I should just let the situation be. I recommend taking the time (even if it's just time for a couple of deep breaths) to get in touch with yourself so you can get to the core of how you’re feeling about the challenge and the people involved. What do you notice? Is this old stuff coming up again? Have you had conflict with this person before? Most importantly, what do you want to teach? Love or fear?
Self-reflection will help you to recognize the patterns which need to be healed. It is important to realize that these patterns have come up so you can deal with them healthfully. Also know that they won’t heal until they are fully forgiven.
~ Another helpful thing I do which you can also try is ask yourself, “If it were a year from now, how would I want to say I handled this situation?” Upon envisioning a time where the situation has passed, you are dissociating from any negative emotions and you are placing yourself mentally in a position where you can observe the situation from a neutral perspective. From this place of neutrality you can see what you are really trying to communicate to the other person. When I ask myself this question my answer is, “I would like to say that I handled this with compassion and without projecting anything onto the other person.”
Now that you’re on board with your own feelings and intentions it’s time for some healthy communication. In A Course in Miracles, we are guided to ask Spirit (Who is in our Right-Mind) if the actions we want to take are in accordance with what Spirit would have us do. The answer is that if you feel no fear, then you're on the right track. So, if you do decide to communicate, here are some helpful tips to speak with compassion, hold a peaceful space and not project...
When you approach someone, visualize them as a mirror. How would you want to be treated? How would you want to be spoken to? If you were upset, would you like compassion from another? In a very real way, you are in fact speaking to yourself when you speak to others. Your unconscious mind cannot dissociate yourself from others, it sees (and knows) that there is only one of us. This is why as you treat others, you treat yourself, because the mind is actually one.
Lose the Guilt
A vital aspect to healthy communication is to speak without projecting any guilt onto the other person. This requires extreme mindfulness! But if you remain confident in the Love that you truly are and that your intention is only to correct misinformation, then there is no reason for negativity, blame games or guilt trips. Leave the guilt at the door. Also, be aware of your reactions as the conversation is occurring. Be mindful if guilt comes up while you're having the conversation. Know that you do not need to speak or act from guilt, you have a choice to remain calm.
Have Confidence in Yourself
Remember, you cannot control other people’s reactions!! If they react defensively, that’s their stuff, not yours! Your “stuff” is reflected in how you choose to react to them. Their judgments (like your judgments) do not mean anything. If you are confident in yourself and who you are then you have no need to be defensive. Their opinion of you does not sway your opinion of yourself or your opinion of them. Be vigilant for the truth! Express only a desire to heal and rectify the situation, and remain firm on that stance.
Don’t be a Safe Place for Negativity!
This would include yelling, name calling or any other demeaning behaviour. If the other party begins to engage in this behaviour, kindly and calmly say to them, “I see that you are upset, but I am not going to discuss this while you are raising your voice or calling me or others, names. Go take some space and come back when you are ready to continue this conversation in a relaxed manner.” Remain firm on this. Eventually people will see that their yelling at you or calling you names does not get anyone anywhere. This is very loving for everyone involved. You are demonstrating healthy and effective communication and you are helping the other person be the best that they can be by accepting only the best in them. SET THE LOVING TONE!
The ego is going to want to delve into those details which are totally irrelevant. This is commonly referred to as the paralysis of analysis. Keep the other person on track and remain solution-focused!
Be crystal clear with the information you’re presenting. State your points, repeat them if necessary. Also, if there are many details involved that you want to be clear on, then type them out so they are in black and white. The ego loves to twist things so you want to be clear and helpful in the information you are correcting or presenting. If the other person is the type to skew things, then invite them to simply refer back to the list if they ever get confused. Just because their ego wants to play, doesn’t mean you have to play along.
Keep an open mind. Remember, do not judge. You really don’t know everything about the other person. You don’t know their pain bodies, all of their triggers or their model of the world. So don’t pretend that you do. This is why it is important to remain clear that you will only stand for respectful, neutral, clear conversation. It is compassionate to do so and you won’t end up offending the other by unintentionally poking one of their pain bodies. If you don’t agree with one of their points, simply acknowledge their point by saying “I hear you saying that. I hear that that is a concern for you.” Use simple language which shows that you do hear them even if you don't agree with what they're saying. Be kind.
Let Yourself Be Surprised
The ego loves to throw the past in people’s faces. How can we evolve as people and as a society if we keeping dangling the past in front of people like meat in front of a dog? You don’t actually know Spirit’s plan for healing, all you have to do is welcome that healing. Leave yours and the other person’s past actions out of the present moment. Remember, healing is natural, so you want to allow it to occur. Even after your conversation with the individual, continue to invite healing when you think of them. Let yourself be surprised!
Remember that we all have a choice in our reactions. Some of our reactions may be "hair-trigger" but we can work on that by being mindful and forgiving when we feel ready to do so. If you want to learn more about how to Truly Forgive and the simple process involved, I suggest checking out Gary Renard's book, Love Has Forgotten No One, or you can also use the exercise on page 90 of A Course in Miracles (Third Edition published by the Foundation for Inner Peace).
Love and Healthy Thinking!
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