You know, I never really knew the importance of communication, until I started reading “Getting the Love You Want” By Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.
You know all those times that you are sitting there talking to your friend, family, or significant other and look up to realize they are typing away on their phones? Well guess what.. they aren’t listening. You know all those times that you are sitting there listening to your friend, family, or significant other talk and are running through potential ways to respond? Well guess what.. you aren’t listening. Sure you may get the gist of what he/she is saying, but you are missing an essential part of what is really being said.
Communication is not only important in your everyday life, but it is an essential tool in a successful relationship with your significant other. Every relationship is built on communication - without communication, it is impossible to have a relationship.
According to “Getting the Love You Want” Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, mention that effective communication entails three essential parts: mirroring, validation, and empathy. Mirroring is actively listening and being able to paraphrase what your partner said back. The goal here is not just to repeat what they said. When you repeat what they say, you are spending too much time trying to get every word and not spending time understanding what he/she just said. After mirroring, it’s time for validation. Here is where you validate what your partner just said. It is important to note that by validating your partner, that does not mean that you necessarily agree with what they said, but you understand where they are coming from and can see their point of view. This step is important in allowing your partner to feel as if their reality and experience is okay and understood. And finally, after validation, comes empathy. Here is where you put yourself in your partner’s shoes and imagine the feelings behind what your partner has said.
This way of communicating may seem foreign at first. But, that is understandable. We don’t normally talk this way in our everyday lives and since we are creatures of habit, it may be hard to change the way we were taught to talk. But with practice, it will eventually become second nature and will bring you and your partner closer together, as you will begin to finally understand what your partner has been trying to say all these years!