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How to communicate your emotional needs Part II

How do you communicate with those close to you?

How do you communicate with those close to you?

When discomfort and resentment are your reactions to an interaction with someone, why? What is it about the person’s expectations of you or behaviour towards you that is bothering you? Is this about you, and therefore there is something here that you need to pay attention to and take on board? Or is it about them?

Or – most likely – a bit of both?

Is it because you have gone beyond your own limits of energy (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) and have nothing left? That may well be the case, but is the other person aware of that, and why?

What gives you life might drain it right out of someone close to you, but without clear communication and understanding, it is easy for boundaries to be crossed and others’ limits stamped on.

So…..how do you communicate such matters? a few tentative thoughts….

  • look back at the questions that explored your limits, and answer them for yourself
  • who is it around you that you need to communicate some of this information to, and when and where are best? – a relaxed, neutral environment, somewhere unlikely to trigger negative reactions in either of you
  • ask the other person to talk about who they are at their best, and in what circumstances; what contributes to that, what brings out the best in them, what gives them energy; affirm them and add what you see about them at their best
  • ask them to listen as you tell them the same about you, and request their positive input
  • do the same for what drains their and your energy, and what you understand of your limits
  • listen without putting your own take on what they are saying – try not to listen autobiographically, but listen with a view to getting into their skin
  • if this level of conversation might not be appropriate, try some of these phrases as starting points: “I am learning to recognise that I am [this] kind of person, and that too much or too little of [  ] is likely to cause me stress and function less well…..I want to be the best [  ] I can be and therefore sometimes will say ‘no’ to things simply because I am learning to recognise my limits.”
  • keep focused on the bigger picture of what you are trying to achieve – greater openness and mutual respect

Understand and respect other people’s boundaries, and they are more likely to respect yours. Respect their boundaries without judgement and without projecting your own values or ideals on to them. Healthy boundaries create an environment of understanding, mutual support and respect – give and take. When we have confidence in our own boundaries, we can be clearer on when and how to bend them, and under what circumstances.

Believe in yourself – who you are and what you can do. Communicate that with those closest to you, and the risk of wrong expectations is reduced.

Each of us is unique, and fearfully and wonderfully made, to quote the Psalmist. Don’t be afraid to gently open up to those close to you when you feel squashed or overstretched.

Communicate your emotional needs to them and listen to theirs, and in so doing, create more space for mutual value and respect.

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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