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Since meeting and marrying Marc, some assume that because of my deep intuitive gifts that somehow I have an edge when it comes to keeping our lines of communication open and operational. Wrong.
Not only did Marc come into my life in my fourth decade on the planet, I also brought into this life time a host of past patterns and attitudes that are present for my growth and development as a soul. Remember, I still have the yammering and stammering of my Goblin.
Just like every other human being, my wounded ego can still be awakened by shame, blame and fear. When I met Marc,even though in my deepest heart I knew he was my forever man, I was still plagued by a fear of abandonment and was plagued by thoughts of “what if this is too good to be true?”
Many singles come to me for readings and coaching thinking that once they find their soulmate that wounded part within will be silenced by the perfection and wonderfulness of that partner. Ha! Little do they realize that it is exactly because of the Goblin and its invitation to address the wounds of the heart that True Love can grow and prosper.
As I teach in my book, The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in Your Life, your current lifetime is a reflection of a myriad of choices and stories –some made and told long before you were born. Indeed as a true treasure map, there are lots of clues and “X marks the spots” along the way. The cool thing is that all you have to do is ask (and then sit still to listen, of course) and Spirit will clearly show you the spot on your path that says: “You Are Here.”
In part 1 of this series of articles on communication and connection, I talked about Harville Hendrix and how his Imago work changed me and empowered me to be the kind of partner Marc was searching for. Here is the scoop on Mirroring.
Dialogue is the only true way to create connection. The trouble is that very few people are naturals when it comes to dialogue. First let me tell you what dialogue is not. Dialogue is not spewing out your opinion. Dialog is not planning your response while your partner is still speaking. Dialogue is not a one person job.
Dialogue is a commitment. A commitment to speak the truth calmly with detachment as well as a commitment to listen dispassionately, respectfully and with openness. You might have such a close connection that you finish each others sentences and yet never really understand your partners internal reality.
According to a study published in Science Daily University of Chicago researcher and communication expert Kenneth Savitsky, "People commonly believe that they communicate better with intimate partners than with strangers. That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the 'closeness-communication bias.'"
Savitzky reports that time and time again, spouses were surprised to find they overestimated their capability to understand each other. Of course the stresses and strains of daily life distract, but it is also true that there is a lot of assumption that ruins communication.
This study supports what I always intuitively knew to be true. As committed as Marc and I are to keeping our connection strong, the fact is that misunderstanding and misinterpreting one another is just part of the game.
That is why dialogue is so critical and why I adore Harville Hendrix’s Intentional Dialogue Process
Good dialogue requires that you focus your mind and heart on the other person with a heart to really get them and where they are coming from. Part one of this technique is Mirroring Part 2 is called Validating.
Validation is recognizing that even though you don’t understand the other person’s experience, and how could you after all, it is THEIR interpretation of what happened, you purpose to see through their eyes and feel through their heart.
A key to success here is to go into the dialogue expecting that you won’t get your partner at first. Chances are that your partner has felt misunderstood for years. When you put yourself in their shoes, you give them a most priceless gift.
Here is an example of Validation in action:
Danielle and Peter need to downsize and are selling their beloved home:
Version 1: (Notice how Peter is relatively engaged in the conversation but there is no true dialogue)
Danielle: I don’t want to move. I love this house so much.
Peter: I don’t want to move either but we just have to suck it up.
Danielle: The kids love their school and I hate the thought of putting them into a new school mid year.
Peter: They will be fine. Kids are resilient.
Danielle: I feel so alone. This is so easy for you. You don’t understand.
Peter: I hate when you say that. You are not alone. I am right here.
Version 2: (Now because Peter wants to validate Danielle’s experience, see how his responses change)
Danielle: I don’t want to move. I love this house so much
Peter: You don’t want to move, do you?
Danielle: No, I don’t. I hate to put the schools in a new school midyear, you know?
Peter: Yeah, I know it is hard for you to think of them needing to make new friends and fit in to a new school.
Danielle: I wish we could stay in our house. I love this house.
Peter: You love this house so much, this must be really painful for you.
Notice that Peter has to think before he speaks so he can enter Danielle’s experience. You can tell that the tone of the conversation was instantly transformed by the validation Peter gave to Danielle.
Now, of course Peter has his own opinion and issues, no denying that. That is what makes the gift of validation so precious. For Peter to put aside his own motivations for the sake of the partnership builds Danielle’s self esteem.
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