How many times have you felt hurt or angry at the way your partner spoke, or didn’t speak? How often have you lamented, ‘you don’t understand.’ And the biggest challenge of them all—how to say something that you know won’t go down well, but needs to be said anyway?
The most loving couple in the world can misunderstand each other when an opinion, complaint or advice is delivered in an unsavoury manner. Using simple tools from the subject that I practice as a corporate coach – communication—I’ve created a formula to iron out these delicate issues.
So, the formula is simple – Care. Yes, the English word Care but also a special abbreviation – Connect – Authentically – with Reason and Energy.
The premise for my formula is that you want your relationship to be loving, fulfilling and your happy place. (I also assume that you aren’t in the ‘don’t talk to me’ zone right now!) This formula can work for any relationship, but here we are focused on a love relationship, at any stage. Use this formula, the next time that you want to say something uncomfortable to your loved one.
So, let’s begin with the C. Connect. Very often, when we are feeling sad or hurt or angry, we feel disconnected. And then when we speak, the other person feels disconnected too. Next time this happens, do this: Take a minute to breathe deeply and then write out your feelings – what you are feeling and why. Once this is done, connect in your mind with the other person and see what they would feel about what you want to say. And then, rather than expressing yourself at the peak of emotions, ask them for a time when you can have a word peacefully.
Now, the second part, A for authenticity. A long-term joyous relationship definitely needs authentic conversations. But what do you do when the cake is tasting like sand or they are really not looking great? At these times, tap into love! ‘Oh! I love the effort you always put into this! The flavor is my favorite. It’s a bit crumbly though, what do you think?’ This way, you are saying something positive that you truly mean before suggesting an improvement. And if you are the sort who can get away with a Yuck! with a genuine hug and smile, that works too! What needs to be avoided is harshness, indifference, lies or meanness.
And now let’s come to reason – the R. Very often it is hard to even know, let alone express, the reason why you are feeling the way you are, why you didn’t like something or someone etc. That’s why, even a simple discussion like a dinner outing can end up in banged doors and cancelled bookings if not done right. How about we just express why we are choosing one place over another? See the immense difference it makes.
And finally, the big E. Energy. What is the energy and the intent behind the conversation? Why are you saying what you are saying? Is there a kinder way to say it? Need it be said at all? When was the last time you said something kind? What do you want to achieve? Just use some simple mindfulness techniques to tap into the best energy within you and you will be surprised with the results. This is really most important, because anything done with the right intent and energy will always have the right impact.
So, don’t just care – but C-A-R-E your way to love!