marriage counseling

Dismissing versus Supporting

In the process of supporting our loved ones, it is easy to move from being supportive to being dismissive without realizing it. Maybe you have run out of things to say that may be supportive and do not know how else to help. 

Being dismissive minimizes the value of what your loved one has said and felt. But, it does not always come from a place of not caring. It can look as simple as what we think is supportive; “It will all be fine...You worry too much; take a break...That person is not worth your time...You didn’t think that would be helpful before...” These things can tell your loved one that their fears, concerns, and hurt are unnecessary but simply confuse the fact that those feelings already exist. 

Support can be offered in many ways. Most often, you will find that your loved ones simply need to feel heard. You may not have to say anything! Think about the times when you have truly felt heard. How can you pass that feeling along?

Make eye contact

Paraphrase what they've said

Ask for clarification if you’ve misunderstood

Simply gestures, like a nod, let them know you’re still listening

Empathy and validation let others know that their feelings and thoughts are acceptable and you can appreciate why they feel that way, even if you may feel differently about the same situation.

Other times, your presence may be more than enough. We have this sense of urgency to fill the voice when there is uncomfortable silence. But when a loved one is hurting, they may just need that silence to process their thoughts and feelings, with your supportive presence. 

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The Dream Team Communication Playbook

Any team sport athlete can tell you that effective communication is vital to the success of a any offense or defense. Team players understand their own role and responsibilities but also need to be able to communicate when they need help, anticipate potential issues, or point out teammates’ blind spots. This is all helpful and productive in the context of shared goals and assuming positive intent. If there is division, selfish motives, or unhealthy players, the team likely will lose. 

 

Communication is defined as “the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.” Each couple has to come up with their own mutually understood signs, symbols and rules. This applies in conflict situations as well as sharing information and feelings. Creating and practicing your own healthy communication “playbook” with your partner can be highly useful for those game time situations that will catch you off guard.As you begin, here are a few helpful pointers: 

 

  • Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

  • Explain and describe versus accuse

  • Be in tuned to your own needs remembering to H.A.L.Tif necessary

  • Compromise so both parties “win” 

  • Be open to learning from each other and about each other

  • Practice “quick, slow, slow” - Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry

  • Know both you and your partner’s verbal and nonverbal triggers

  • Maintain even TVC when talking - tone, volume, and cadence

  • Validate, validate, validate!

  • Ask for clarification, don’t assume

  • Play to your strengths 

 

At the end of the day, remember to affirm good efforts and small victories. Championships are never won in just one game, but through a compilation of daily efforts, practice, re-evaluation, and improving where weakest. 

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Five Elements Of An Apology

Five Elements Of An Apology

Many times we feel that we have fully apologized to another person about how we have offended or wronged them. But the offended person may want to hear more than just the two words “I’m sorry.” They may have heard that apology several times from the same person and been betrayed or disappointed again by the same actions or words. So the simple “I’m sorry” can seem empty and meaningless. Use these five elements of a sincere apology and then put these elements into action to win a person’s trust back.

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