communication


What is it about people who radiate peace? There is a strong sense of conviction about them, a compassionate respect for others, clarity of thought and communication, and a refreshing sense of humor.

What seems to be consistent with a peaceful aura is a strong belief system. it is a conviction that emanates from every breath that is taken, every thought that is experienced, every feeling that is felt, every action that is performed. This conviction is the grace of God.

The seeds of peace begin with a belief in God. The seeds grow as we become more rooted in our convictions as children of God. As we mature into hardy “perennials”, we experience the peace of our beings by living according to His will.

There is a simple prayer that directs us towards peace: “I AM LISTENING.” To keep our eyes and ears open to His word, His direction, His nudging, affords a sense of calm, even in the eye of a relational storm.

Listen.

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Today, all around us, there is so much that could trigger a pessimistic attitude towards life.  We all know what our triggers are.    How can I see the rainbow when it’s raining so hard?  How can I see the glass half full when even the glass is dirty?  Silver lining?  What silver lining?  What I want to focus on is cultivating optimism in the face of today’s struggles.

Cultivating optimism begins with attitude.  How we look at a situation, event, or interaction demonstrates which side of the attitudinal scale we come from – the upside or the downside.  Our thoughts and feelings will follow based on our location on the scale.

It is key to know that we are in charge of the attitude.  We may not be in control of the situation or event, but we are definitely in charge of how we look at it.  So, it is a choice.  No matter what the circumstance, we must stay in charge of how we see it to cultivate optimism.  Once we claim our ownership of attitude, we can begin to look at each life event from anywhere on the scale we choose.

Cultivating optimism involves looking for the lesson in a tough situation.  What purpose does it serve for us?  Sometimes the answer is a resounding “I don’t know”.  That’s ok.  The purpose is understood when it presents itself, and no sooner.  Trusting that the lesson will be revealed, learned, and applied allows us to view anything from a more positive, life-enriching standpoint.

So, take a look at the glass:  half-full or half-empty?  You decide.

Glass Half Empty

Half full or half empty?

One of the easiest ways to get into communication trouble is by using dysfunctional triangles as a form of communicating.  A relational triangle consists of three legs. Typically, one person is speaking to another about a person, place, or thing.  We speak in triangles all day long:

How was your mother’s visit to the doctor? (person) What do you think of the new restaurant in town? (place)
What about the weather we are having? (thing)

Now, as you can see above, generally speaking, triangles are not a problem if they meet the following criteria:  the what (content) and the why (motive) are not negatively charged.  They are primarily used for informational purposes or with a compassionate intent.

However, dysfunctional triangle communication can cause disruption in clear communication and result in negative consequences relationally.  In this article, I am mainly focusing on the triangles that involve the third leg as a person.

Let’s look at an example:

You have an argument with your sister-in-law and vent about her to your mother, who you know dislikes this sister-in-law.  You have just initiated a dysfunctional triangle.  The content included speaking angrily about her to someone who would probably agree with you; and the motive wasn’t clean because the intent was to have someone join you in the anger, keeping the emotion as the prime focus.

Imagine the many possible consequences of this simple misstep in communication:

–         Your anger feels justified and you have no thoughts of resolving the issue with your sister-in-law.

–         You do not learn from the interaction; in fact, you can become more stuck in a relationship dynamic with her that can only get worse.

–          A lot of emotional energy is wasted.

–          No positive outcome can occur as a result.

–          You may not be open to an apology from your sister-in-law.

–          You could develop the reputation as a gossip or a pot-stirrer.

Here’s another example:

You own a small business and have two employees.  This is a triangle just waiting to be activated!  This setup can be a minefield of potential communication problems.  Think of the possibilities:

–    Your two employees don’t think you lead well and they ally against you and sabotage productivity; or,

–    You depend on the more reliable of the two to do more of the work because you know it will get done.  Imagine the imbalance this can create, which can only lead to more communication dysfunction in your business.

The possibilities are many and the consequences can even lead to your business failing!

These are just two examples of dysfunctional triangles.  They happen everywhere…at work, home, social events, with your friends and with your significant other.

Therefore, before you speak within a triangle, particularly about another person, do two things:

1. Check the content

2. Question your motive

This will help keep your communications clear and keep you out of dangerous territory relationally.  So, beware the triangle!

Women

Beware the triangle!