I recently had the pleasure of participating in a workshop in Los Angeles with 150 others who, like myself, want to hone their skills as a trainer. One of our instructors was Les Brown (visit www.lesbrown.com to learn more about him). I had heard this inspirational man speak before, but never had the opportunity to meet him in person.
His love, passion and energy filled each of us with possibility. He taught us about the power of speaking from the heart.
Communication in divorce is so important. Mr. Brown’s invited us “speak from the heart.” I realized how often, particularly in face of potential conflict, I want to speak from my head instead. Speaking from my head makes me feel safer. It makes me feel clever at times. Have you ever had to make a request and felt you had to give reasons for what you want and why? That would be your head talking there. But in the emotionally charged arena of divorce, intellectual arguments often do not win the day or get you what you want.
We are always communicating with someone, whether it’s our children, our ex-partners, our friends, our lawyers, ourselves. Many people are skilled at speaking “from their heads.” What would our relationships be like if we were willing to speak from the heart? Yes, it would require a willingness to be vulnerable to another. Yes, you may find some raw emotions coming up when you speak openly and honestly from your heart. I suspect this is why so many people aren’t comfortable with it. It feels safer and more in control to speak from your head, instead of your heart.
But think of a time someone spoke to you from their heart. Perhaps it was a child speaking to you of their fears. Maybe a friend shared about their sense of powerlessness with a problem they were having. That authentic vulnerability likely opened your heart up to a deeper listening to them. Sharing from your heart creates a strong sense of connection between the speaker and the listener.
My invitation to you is to simply notice where you tend to speak from. Are you speaking from your head or your heart? Identify one relationship that you might be struggling with right now and where you’d be willing to speak from your heart. Use the phrase, “What I’m really feeling is…” to get you started. February is Heart Health Awareness month, after all. Try it on as a new behavior. The worst thing that could happen is that your relationships don’t improve. The alternative is that you’d create a whole new way of relating to another, and allow your authentic self to be heard.
As Les Brown said, “Who you are behind the words is more important than the words you speak.”
Carolyn B. Ellis is the Founder of Thrive After Divorce, Inc. A Harvard University graduate, Carolyn is a Certified Master Integrative Coach™, Teleclass Leader and the first Canadian to be certified as a Spiritual Divorce Coach. She has also served as a Staff Coach at the Institute for Integrative Coaching at John F. Kennedy University in San Francisco, CA, and has been trained personally by its founder, NY Times best-selling author Debbie Ford. Her book, The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive after Divorce will be published in 2007. She is a member of Collaborative Practice Toronto. Her three amazing school age children and bouncy labradoodle dog are her daily sources of inspiration and joy. http://thriveafterdivorce.com/
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