Category Archives: Relationships

We All Share One Ultimate Goal In Life: Understand This And Your Life Will Flow

We All Share One Ultimate Goal In Life: Understand This And Your Life Will Flow

By Penny Phang

Ultimate Goals and the Flow of Life
Flowing River image courtesy of Pixabay

The next time you complain about someone or get upset with the way they are, do yourself a favor; stop and think about what I’m sharing here, instead.

Here’s a way of thinking that you can adopt to help you see things in a healthier light. And when you see things in a healthier light, your life will flow in a positive direction.

So here goes.

On the surface, we’re all quite different from one another. For the most part, we may have different goals and different ways of achieving them. We go through different relationships in hopes to find the people who are most compatible with us. We try different work to find one that most suits us. We explore different things to see what most complement our interests.

Along the way we may find things that once interest us now no longer fit into our lives.

We’re constantly learning, growing and evolving. Some of us do this faster than others – eager to know more, do more, be more, have more. And there are others who are too afraid of change and rather settle on having learned enough. And then there are those who settle between these two extremes.

Whatever the case, my point is this: Though we may all seem different on the surface, we do, however, share the same ultimate desire. This desire is the driving force that causes each of us to do what we do. The desire is… to be happy.

We could argue that it is fulfillment or wealth that we’re really after; or that it is joy, understanding, love, peace, power, or even health. But it really doesn’t matter how you describe it; these are all just different forms of the “ultimate goal” – to experience “happiness.” That’s what it all boils down to.

No matter how “right” or “wrong” we get, “good” or “bad,” we’re all just trying to find some form of happiness. Think about it; think about everything you’ve done. What was the ultimate feeling you were trying to achieve?

Whether you were having an argument with a loved one, working towards a goal, lying your way out of a situation, trying to make more money, you have your reasons. But no matter how you look at those reasons, the bottom line is: you want to experience some form of happiness – be it fulfillment, accomplishment, love or importance.

On our quest to find happiness, most of us can act in ways that don’t appear to support our ultimate goal of being happy. We fight, complain, compete, yell, belittle, blame, lie, manipulate and plain old disrespect. Is this really the way to achieve happiness? I think we can agree that they don’t sound like behaviors that promote or complement happy.

If we want to be happy, shouldn’t we be leaning more toward behaviors that are in alignment with happy? Such as patience, understanding, compassion, honest communication, gratitude, kindness, non-judgement… (you get the picture).

Saying this, however, I want to be clear that it’s okay to feel negative emotions and act out negative human behaviors. It is normal. It is natural. These feelings and behaviors serve a purpose. They are the things that trigger pain in order to help us learn, grow and do better.

These negativities, if you will, are just as much a part of you as the positivities. It is in accepting both your light and dark sides that makes you complete. You can’t be complete if you only know one spectrum of yourself and not the other; you can’t truly know happiness if you’ve never felt its opposite, or know what works for you if you’ve never experienced the things that don’t.

One side of you cannot truly exist without the other. And so it is that we have all these qualities within us, light and dark, that surface depending on what’s happening around and within us. And it is from these experiences of both light and dark that we can choose what suits us best, and how we want to live.

As Dr. Deepak Chopra would say: “When we are willing to embrace both the light and the dark sides of our selves, we can begin to heal both our selves and our relationships.” (Dr. Chopra is a world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body healing, best-selling author, and a global force in the field of human empowerment.)

Though these “negative” feelings and behaviors are well in order to serve their purpose for existence, however, they can be a hindrance if we don’t learn from them and move on. They can’t serve us well when we choose to dwell in them for an extended period of time – when we let them drown us into more darkness rather than use them to realize more light.

Even though we all ultimately want to achieve happiness, the choices each of us make and the path we take to get there are not going to be the same. So we will run into people who we will have much in common with and agree with, just as we will also run into others we don’t agree with.

The ones we don’t agree with, we have a tendency to judge or even condemn. Deep down we want to think we’re better. We point out why they’re wrong so we can prove how we’re right. But here’s where I want to remind you that there’s really no “need” for you to do this.

You see, when you spend your time judging or complaining, you’re truly hurting yourself because you’re putting your energy in the wrong places, therefore, your life cannot flow. Ever noticed people who spend time complaining about others are also the very same people whose life isn’t flowing smoothly?

When you understand that we’re all working toward the same ultimate goal of finding happiness – and that each of us have our own set of challenges along the way that cause us to act or react the way we do – you can have a little more compassion and patience toward others.

You will understand that they, too, in their own way – regardless of how they may appear on the surface – are having a hard time finding a balance between their light and dark sides.

You don’t have to agree with the way they are, but you now understand that life challenges affect everyone differently. Some may even choose to react in an “evil” way and some, not so much. Whatever the case, it helps not to judge anyone. After all, we all do share something powerful in common – we all just want to be happy. So what’s there to judge, really?

So don’t be too concerned with other people’s path and life challenges. Do not waste energy condemning or criticizing. Instead, move along with class and civility while focusing on your own journey. This will save you more energy to focus on emotions that will contribute to what you need to do rather than take away from it.

Should you adopt this way of thinking, you’ll experience your life to flow more in your favor. And things that begin to happen to you may even feel miraculous. But you’ll soon learn that those “miraculous” things that are happening are not so much the result of miracles as they are the result of your deliberate intention to adopt a healthier way of thinking.

In closing, I’ll leave you with more words of wisdom from world-renowned author and leader of human empowerment, Dr. Deepak Chopra:

“Intention springs from our deepest desires, and those desires are shaped by karma. You and I don’t have the same karma; therefore we don’t have exactly the same desires. We have loved different people, knelt at different graves, prayed at different altars. The specifics of desire are unique to each of us.

Yet if you follow the chain of desire, in the end we are all the same. We want to be happy. We want to be fulfilled. We want meaning and purpose in our lives. We want a sense of connection with God or spirit.

We want other people to respect us and love us. And we want to feel safe. These desires are universal. But the route each of us takes to satisfy them is uniquely our own, based on our individual experiences and memories, or karma. We’re all heading for the same destination, but we take different roads. We arrive together, having traveled our different paths.”

 

Even The Littlest Things You Do Can Become A Major Turning Point For Someone

Even The Littlest Things You Do Can Become A Major Turning Point For Someone

By Penny Phang

Feeling Locked In and Trapped
Shackled image courtesy of Pixabay

Relationship is one of the most effective tools for spiritual evolution because we’re always in relationships. Think of the web of relationships you have at any time—friends, parents, children, colleagues, teachers, lovers, even enemies. All are, at their heart, spiritual experiences.

Where would you be without all those lessons learned through relationships? Could you have grown into the person you are today? Could you have known the things you know today?

If you think back to all the little things we do for each other, and pay attention to some of the events that have unfolded as a result of them, you’ll learn to recognize the impact we have on one another, everyday.

I want to take this time to remind you that you all matter to many, in more ways than you know. I see this everyday and everywhere, and am grateful for it. Let me give you an example.

In the late 80’s soon after my move from Malaysia to Canada, I found myself being antagonized by a group of students I barely knew at my high school. Maybe I didn’t quite understand their culture; perhaps my English wasn’t perfect; or maybe my clothes didn’t suit their taste. Who knows? But they seemed to enjoy tormenting me. They often threatened me, called me names and threw things at me and laughed.

I dreaded recess because I knew I would bump into them. I was afraid of them. I was afraid of getting in trouble and I was afraid I would disappoint my family if I retaliated or hurt anyone. Most of all, I was angry with myself for feeling so weak.

Feeling scared, sad and angry all at the same time, I kept my composure when I asked my art teacher, Ms. Kroeker, if I could spend my lunchtime in the art studio to practice my artwork. I even convinced her to lock the door so I could “keep a better eye on all the art supplies.” She never questioned me. She was always very good to me.

To this day, Ms. Kroeker doesn’t even know the truth about what she’s done for me just by doing me that “little” favor. You see, while I was locked in the art studio each day during lunchtime, I came to realize that I was a good artist. I soon understood why Ms. Kroeker always praised my work. She believed in me long before I even believed in myself.

Learning to appreciate my own creativity was just my uncovering a piece of the puzzle. There was more. Being locked in at lunchtime gave me a safe place to be, to think, and to do some soul searching.

And with this opportunity to reflect, something inside me began to change. I was sick of feeling scared; sick of being locked in; sick of allowing others to have so much control over the way I felt. I knew that sooner or later I would have to face up to my fears and stand up for myself.

I had to unplug from a negative beliefpattern about myself that had no truth but nonetheless had “power” over me. I knew I had to stop judging myself and give myself permission to do what’s right for me.

I was ready. I gave myself permission to be free – to have lunch like everyone else. It wasn’t long before my tormentors spotted me in the cafeteria. I felt something bad was going to happen but I kept my cool and went about my business until one of them decided to creep up from behind to attack me. That was when I lost it. I detonated.

In that little moment in time, every social grace I’ve ever adopted went out the window. I had to do what came naturally—defend myself. Though I held a black belt in Karate at the time, I must admit fighting for real was very different from fighting in a ring. In the ring, we had to follow the rules. In this case, there were no rules. Anything goes.

I was striking moves I didn’t even know I was capable of just to fight not one, but three people off me. After a taste of my “temporary insanity,” all three of them scattered off like mice running away from a cat. I was in shock. Did I hurt someone? Was I hurt? Was I the cat? (Like I said, I was in a little bit of a shock.)

To make a long story short, from that day onward, things were never the same. No one tried to bother me anymore.

I learned something else along the way as a result of all this. I used to think that doing my best means I have to be in the best mood or else I’m just not doing my best. Or my best has to be this awe-encompassing deal, or else it’s not good enough. I’m glad to say I was wrong.

The truth is that your best is going to change from moment to moment, and that’s okay. It will be different when you are healthy as oppose to sick, happy as oppose to sad. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Doing your best means doing the most natural thing for you in each moment – making decisions to move away from what you don’t want and more towards the things you do want. And if this means you have to take a few steps back in order to move forward, that’s okay, too.

Doing your best also means making each moment for yourself a little better than the last. This does not necessarily mean that the next step you take will put you in an ideal place right away. It may not even make you happy in that moment. But nonetheless it is a necessary step in order to move towards your ideal outcome.

And if those steps you take should somehow lead you to fall hard along the way, that’s okay, too. Just know that sometimes we have to fall in order to rise again—stronger than before.

Any Relationship Can Use a Tune-Up

Any Relationship Can Use a Tune-Up

Do you ever feel like you are never listened to? Or perhaps no one responds to you when you are talking. This can be extremely frustrating and lead to fights and an extremely unsatisfying relationship. How can you improve your connections with your significant other that will pay off in dividend? Here are some communication “tune-up” tips that work:

First, in order to communicate effectively, you have to have the other person’s attention. The best way to do that is to look your partner in the eye. When you have connected eye contact, you are better able to read body language, such as nodding or facial expressions to confirm you are both present.

Second, another key aspect of this process is active empathetic listening. This process shows that you understand what is going on inside of the mind of the speaker as if you were that person. It is not enough to just say that you heard your spouse’s words; you need to show that you know how the other person feels.

How do you show that? By reflecting back what was said to you both verbally and nonverbally. For example, a wife comes through the door after work and says that the bus was late; she doesn’t have enough time to cook dinner and go workout; and by the way, the checking account is over drawn. Doing active listening, the husband, instead of reacting to the checking account balance or the no dinner, gently says, “It sounds like a lot of things went wrong today. I would be very frustrated too”. This clearly demonstrates that the wife’s complaints were actually heard. Once this type of response has been made, a channel is there to discuss her feelings and find a resolution to the evening plans without bickering and fighting.

The third tip is to leave blaming and judgments out of your conversations. The best way to do this is to use “I” statements instead of “You” statements. For example, in the above illustration, the husband could have said to the wife, “You always run late, dinner is never ready on time and furthermore, you are financially incompetent!” Instead he said, “I would feel frustrated too”. Thus, the wife would not feel blamed, and be less likely to react defensively. Furthermore, using this language technique allows partners to feel empathy for each and look for solutions in lieu of retribution.

The fourth recommendation is to directly ask for how you want the other person to respond. For example, if you have had a frustrating day like the woman in the above story, tell your partner that you want to vent and you just want him to LISTEN. By doing this, you are taking care of your feelings and needs and allowing the other person to be supportive by just letting you blow off steam.

Therefore, as a suggestion, if your goal is to get your husband to listen, simply say, “I only want you to listen, I do not want you to fix anything, I just want you to hear what I have to say.”

The fifth piece of advice is to appreciate the differences in the way you communicate. Your partner may prefer to write about her feelings instead of vocalizing them. In contrast, the other partner may chose to go for a run or walk after an argument to clear his head and then reconvene to work on solutions. These differences should be cherished because when you appreciate the unique communication style of the other person; you will get along better and be able to nurture a healthy relationship.

Here at Peace Talks, we are all about communication… Educating parties about the skills they can use to reconnect or to make their transition to a new type of family entity a smooth one. By educating excellent relationship skills, we help partners and families stay connected for life!

About the Author
Peace Talks is a collaborative divorce mediation firm that helps spouses file for a divorce in a sane and sensible manner. Peace Talks provides divorce mediation services in Los Angeles and throughout California. We have family law attorneys, family therapists and financial consultants who can help you file for a divorce in a way that is less expensive than the courts in Los Angeles and California. Visit www.peace-talks.com to learn more about how you can have a peaceful and amicable divorce in Los Angeles.

Why Me? Healing From Emotional and Physical Abuse

I spent an awful lot of the early part of my life feeling like a victim – wondering why people chose to do bad things to me, if there was some invisible ‘Hurt Me’ sign on my forehead that only the abusers could see but I couldn’t find when I looked in the mirror, and thinking I must have been bad – or that I somehow deserved the abuse – but this post isn’t about me – and it’s for sure not about the abusers – it’s about finding healing and it’s for anyone reading this who has ever sat with their head in their hands and tears in their eyes, with a broken heart and spirit and asked, “Why me?”

Why Me? Healing From Emotional and Physical Abuse

How Many Times Have You Asked, “Why Me?”

Abuse often starts in childhood and leads to self-abuse

The really crushing thing about abuse, especially abuse that starts in childhood, is that it puts you in a victim’s mentality and keeps you there.

Children – and the innocent part in all of us really – tend to blame themselves for everything, so even if logically, you know you did nothing wrong to deserve what was done to you, you internalize the feeling that you deserved, and continue to deserve it.

This victim’s mentality leads you to make self-abusive decisions (on a subconscious level) that keep you in a state of pain and failure, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With work, effort, and persistence, you can change the way you think and the results life hands you.

Healing From Emotional and Physical Abuse

Recognize that the abuse was NEVER about you! 

While it’s easy to say the abuser did ‘this’ to you, because on the face that’s what happened, abusers are human, too – and if they are hurting others, it is because they are hurting or lacking and they see something in you that they want to take from you to fill the void in themselves.

(By the way – NO – I do not mean you should forgive them – that’s not my call and it’s a completely different topic, really.)

Don’t wait for them to come back and apologize, or to recognize what they’ve done to you – chances are it will never happen and if you wait for it, you will remain a victim of whatever they did to you for the rest of your life.

Put the abuse behind you

Recognizing that the ‘bad thing’ the abuser did was about the abuser’s inadequacy, and nothing else, not something you caused or deserved, sets you free to move ahead and begin healing so you can be free of the evil that was dropped on you.

Letting something someone did to you hold you back, like an invisible set of shackles, lets them win; it means they actually did manage to take from you what they sought to steal, and no abuser deserves to win.

Learning to value the person you see when you look in the mirror can take a lot of work if you are starting from a victim’s vantage point.

You can expect to have good days followed by occasional setbacks, but doing things to build your confidence and self-esteem, like creating affirmations, reading books on positivity or self-help books, or even finding a good counselor to help you work through he past can help you say goodbye to the mindset that you deserved the abuse and that you are worthy of enjoying the type of life you want to live.

The Legacy You Leave to Your Loved Ones

Have you ever thought about the legacy you will leave behind when your time on this planet comes to an end?

(Sorry for the sad topic.)

When your time comes and you leave this world, will the people you love know how much you love them?

What Is Your Legacy?

Will you  be leaving behind a legacy that inspires future generations, of either your kin or other people out there in the world?

Most of us are blessed to touch a handful of lives, and hopefully, leave those people we have shared out lives with – with fond memories of some unique trait that we possess, like memories of ‘Mom’s famous pumpkin pie’ or ‘Dad’s skill at gardening.

An awful lot of people leave this world suddenly… unexpectedly, and while I hope that does not happen to anyone reading this, I just want to ask you to consider – what if it did?

(Again, I apologize for the sadness of this topic.)

Would your parents, spouse, children, or best friend know you would never choose to leave them and how much they meant to you, or that you want them to be able to go on – to live rich lives and experience joy in their own lives?

If you have any doubt they would know, take a moment to call them and tell them, or send them a text, or write a letter and mail it to them, write a letter and stick it with your will to be read after you’re gone, or stick it in a bottle and throw it in the ocean like something out of a movie (no – wait – that was bad advice – you probably shouldn’t litter the ocean with bottles) – do whatever is right for you and your situation. 

I don’t want this to be something that makes you sad – my hope is it will bring you the joy of ensuring your loved ones know how much you love them.

And, finally, my note to you, all my readers… if you took the time to read this to the end, I want you to know I treasure the fact that you gave up a few moments of your day to read my words, and I truly hope they bring something positive to your life. I hope you’ll feel free to browse around the site and leave comments if you see anything that inspires you.

 

 

The Role of Eye Contact in Effective Communication

The ability to make eye contact in a comfortable manner is one of the most important parts of nonverbal communication – in regards to business and personal relationships, it can also be one of the hardest to master.

Eye Contact for Effective Communication

The Role of Eye Contact in Effective Communication

Most of us either make too much eye contact which comes off as “stalker stare” or not enough, which comes off as nervousness and dishonesty.

It might seem as if being comfortable and confident – neither extroverted nor introverted – would be the key to achieving the perfect balance.  achieving just the right amount of eye contact can be so challenging – with extroverts making too much eye contact and introverts not making enough, but that is not always the case.

Personality Types and Eye Contact

But, achieving just the right amount of eye contact can be so challenging because, for some people, nervousness in interpersonal relationships shows whether intended or not. extroverts often making too much eye contact and introverts generally not making enough, but that is not always the case.

Nervousness can impact both extroverts and introverts – with extroverts often making too much eye contact and introverts generally not making enough, but that is not always the case.

My Own Experience Improving Eye Contact

Using myself as an example, in the past, I tended to be extremely introverted. If talking with one or two people I was fine, but in a social setting, I was the one enjoying listening to others talk. Rarely would I ever press to shift the focus to myself, and when I did try to speak, my nervousness left my eyes darting around, then, my darting eyes would shift over to stalker stare, affixed on the friendliest looking person in the group.

With practice, I was able to improve my ability to make eye contact, and I want you to know that if I can do that, so can you. So here are a few tips that can help you improve your ability to make effective eye contact – some are from my experience and others are from the sources linked.

Tips for Improving Eye Contact

  • Practice in front of a mirror. If you can’t look your reflection in the eye and talk to yourself, you probably also can’t look anyone else in the eye long enough to have a conversation.
  • Record yourself. Make a recording of yourself reading a short speech or talking about something that interests you.
    • This gives you a great way to analyze how the way you make eye contact because you can see what works and practice recording over and over until your eye contact looks natural in the recording.
  • Match your partner’s eye contact style. According to the website, Improve Your Social Skills, a good way to achieve just the right balance in making eye contact is to make eye contact when the person you are speaking to looks at you and look away when they do.
    • (I love this advice, though I am picturing two “stalker starers” making way too much eye contact or two people who struggle to make eye contact not looking at each other at all.)
  • Mimic a good conversationalist. Study how much someone you admire as a conversationalist makes eye contact, then practice making about the same style and length of eye contact they do.
  • Boost your self-esteem. While a damaged self-esteem is not the only thing that can make your ability to make eye contact go wrong, boosting your confidence and self-esteem can only help when you want to improve it.
    • Set yourself up for small successes by planning and doing things you know you are good at, and write some simple positive affirmations about your good traits.
  • Write down things that make you feel gratitude. Just like becoming more confident, experiencing gratitude can only help as you work to improve the way you communicate.
  • Identify with people you talk to. Look for things you find positive or admirable in a person you don’t especially like but have to deal with anyway.
    • This one is hard, but even the biggest jerk around will typically have at least one or two positive traits you can focus on, so you can relax and make proper eye contact when they talk to you.
    • Finding something good and human in someone who tends to make you feel intimidated makes it easier to adjust your gaze to an appropriate length.
  • Count the seconds. If you feel as if maybe you are making too much eye contact, count the seconds. If you go over three or four seconds when talking to someone other than a romantic interest – a mutual romantic interest – then look away from a moment – or at least blink.

Eye contact can be a tricky part of effective communication, but it is possible to practice improve at this form of non-verbal communication, and making the effort can be important as you work to rewrite your life story.

Self-Compassion: You Owe it to Yourself

Most people intuitively understand compassion when it comes to others who are suffering, but self-compassion is generally harder to grasp.

The Opposite of Self-Compassion
The Opposite of Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion: You Owe it to Yourself

When you see someone who is suffering or struggling and your heart reaches out to them, whether you act or not, you feel a tug of discomfort (whether you reach out to help them or not is another part of the complexity of compassion) and you sympathize or feel their pain, that is compassion.

When you yourself are struggling, your first reaction might be to turn to self-deprecating humor or to think how stupid you are. That is the opposite of self-compassion.

What Is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is when you recognize that you are human and not perfect, and you quit judging yourself for it. It’s when you give yourself a break.

There are three elements to being self-compassionate, mindfulness, an awareness of your common humanity, and self-kindness.

How Treating Yourself With Compassion Affects Your Life

Putting aside the self-judgement and recognizing that everyone has problems, everyone makes mistakes, and no one – no one – is perfect, lets you begin being kind to yourself.

If you bump your head, for example, and you call yourself a dummy for it, you are literally telling yourself that you are dumb – for something almost everyone does from time to time.

Judging yourself harshly, even when you use humor, it’s still negative, keeps you in an emotionally beaten state, and learning to respond to your humanity with kindness lets you recognize your worth and it lets you open the door to a healthier, happier life.

How to Treat Yourself With Compassion

If you catch yourself in the act of negative self-talk, stop – just stop – mid-sentence. Then, tell yourself the exact opposite of the negative thing you started to say. (Say it out loud if you are in a place you are comfortable doing that.)

Think of something you would absolutely love to have someone do for you – then stop waiting on someone else and tell yourself you are worth it and do it for yourself. This doesn’t have to be expensive – it can be as simple as giving yourself a foot massage after a hard day.

Write some simple affirmations about your self-worth and self-esteem and list some things you do well – and read them to yourself several times a day – out loud when possible.

Surround yourself with positivity as best you can. Read books that inspire you, visit websites like this one to find positive messages, and try to find positive people to include in your life – but don’t sweat it if you can’t find any – because you can learn to be a self-compassionate person with or without anyone else, and you are worth the effort.

Effective Communication Quotes

Learning to communicate effectively is one of the key things you need to do in order to move ahead successfully in life; these effective communication quotes can serve up a bit of inspiration for improving your own communication skills.

Effective Communication Quotes

Quotes About Effective Communication

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”  – Anthony Robbins

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”  – Brian Tracy

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”  – Buddha

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”  – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”  – Robert Frost

“Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.”  – Lao Tzu

“Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man.”  – Louis Nizer

“There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen.”  – Christopher Morley

I hope you enjoyed these quotes about effective communication skills, and if you have any favorite quotes about communication skills, or if you would like to be quoted, you are welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Improving Communication Skills

Almost everyone has had the experience of feeling a little lost in a conversation like they just… missed… something; and improving communication skills is a way to avoid feeling like that in the future, or to at least reduce how often it happens.

Improving Communications Skills

Benefits of Improving Communication Skills

Having the ability to communicate effectively is vital to business success and in interpersonal relationships, but it is a skill rarely taught in school and it seems as if some people have the skill naturally and others always struggle with a touch of awkwardness.

Using myself as an example of awkwardness in verbal communication, I can usually write what I want to say pretty effectively, but I often choke on my words when I have to talk to someone in person or on the phone unless I’m talking to someone I know very well and am very at ease with – I always KNOW what I want to say, but I sometimes have trouble getting the words to come out of my mouth. 

5 Tips for Effective Face-to-Face Communication

  1. Listen to the other person: The most obvious place to begin is by listening more than you speak, so you can hear and understand the other person’s words.
    1. This isn’t always easy because you may be eager to express your ideas – but expressing your ideas without hearing the other party’s thoughts and concerns can make you seem overbearing and you often miss the point completely.
  2. Watch the other person’s body language: While listening to the other person’s words, also watch their body language to see if it matches up with their words.
    1. If you aren’t familiar with reading body language, take a bit of time to study up on it, because it can profoundly change the way you interact with others.
  3. Make eye contact: Without going as far as the ‘ creepy stalker stare’ – make sure you are making eye contact when speaking with others – both while they speak and while you are speaking.
    1. This can be really hard for those of us who struggle with social awkwardness, but it is a learned skill, and you can get better at it by practicing – even if you have to practice it alone in your bathroom by talking to your reflection in the mirror.
  4. Give feedback: Feedback that you give can be as simple as interjecting a “really?” after someone speaks or as complex as restating what the other person just said – but in your own words.
    1. Feedback confirms that you were listening and heard the other person’s words.
  5. Receive feedback: Listen not only to what the other person says in a face-to-face encounter but also to the feedback they give when you speak.
    1. This means you are not assuming that the person heard and understood your words, but that you are hearing what they say in response to your words. 

Being able to use face-to-face communication effectively can make the difference between being that person who stammers or who stands alone in any group and being part of something bigger; and while it may always feel like a challenge if you are an introverted person, it is possible to learn this important communication skill.

Building Self-Confidence Helps Build Healthy Relationships

Being in a relationship can (and should) boost your self-confidence, but that’s not always how it works for people entering a relationship with low or damaged self-esteem.

Self-Confidence and RelationshipsIf you go into a relationship with low self-confidence, first, you’re more likely to doubt anything positive your partner sees in you, and also, you’re more likely to choose  a partner who is negative – who also has a low self-esteem level – and who reinforces your negative self-perception.

According to Dr. Alice Boyes, poor self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence can cause low-quality relationships – with less love, less trust, more conflict, more ambivalence, and less stability.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”                                – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why Building Self-Confidence Helps Build Healthy Relationships

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”   – e.e. cummings

Build Healthy Self-ConfidenceBuilding your self-confidence helps you build healthier relationships, and it’s kind of like the saying on airplanes for emergencies – about putting on your own oxygen mask first because you can’t help anyone else if you can’t breathe.

Can you be in a relationship if you lack self-confidence and have no sense of self-esteem? Of course! People do it every day – but the quality of your relationships will most likely suffer under the weight of the negativity you experience on  a personal level.

Simple Confidence Boosters

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”   – Thomas Alva Edison

While others can do positive, confidence-boosting things for you, and you for them, no one can build someone else’s self-confidence – by it’s very definition, self-confidence is an internal, personal evaluation of self-worth.

You can do external things for a quick self-confidence boost, like getting you hair done, or working out, or putting on a new outfit, but don’t ignore the value of making internal changes, too, because they provide a longer-lasting confidence boost.

There are many ways to build a foundation of healthy self-esteem; for example: help someone else, make a list of things you are grateful for, make a list of things you are good at, write down small goals you can quickly achieve and check them off as you do them, learn something new, or do something you’ve always wanted to do.

It’s hard to build a healthy relationship on the foundation of an unhealthy self-image, but it’s so easy to take advantage of things you can do to be more confident.