You may notice other peoples body language and have already decided what they are thinking or feeling. Our past experiences tell us what to look for and we can make the behaviour fit our expectation.
If a group of people were shown the same picture it is likely that they would all see something different in it, their description might not sound like the same picture. This is because we all look through our own filter of the world. In other words the information that is important to you is what you will see. The same applies to body language, we focus in on what is familiar or important to us. Noticing our own perception of another’s body language is vital when changing patterns of behaviour. Once you are aware of your perceptions, then rather than reacting to it (same old pattern) you can check it out with the other person in the kindness way possible.
I’ve been thinking about the way we talk to each other.
There are several stages to the way we communicate.
The basic stage – this is where we chat about the weather, or how late the trains run – this is the stuff we can say to anyone.
Then there’s the fact finding or information giving stage. Partners will often call this the nagging stage!
Then it’s the views and opinion stage . Pubs are full of this type of conversation!
We then move onto the slightly more scary stage which is where we talk about our feelings. This can make us vulnerable.
Eventually when we know someone very well we can end up in rapport. This is where you know someone so well that you trust them and don’t feel vulnerable when you share your emotions. Occassionally you finish off each others sentences…… Can be annoying which can then bring you back down to sharing feelings – then when that’s exhausted we go to the views and opinions. After we’ve done that we bark orders and then when things have calmed down but we are still miffed we do the small talk!
With those we love we can go up and down these stages. The trick is to stay in rapport. Being able to share our feelings without getting angry.
It’s so easy to stay in our comfort zone. After all life is all about comfort. But what I have discovered is that if we stay in our comfort zone then we never learn.
Doing the same thing day after day is good if it’s working for you. But what so often happens is we get used to a destructive behaviour. Either our own or others and we tell ourselves that it’s impossible to change. It becomes our norm.
So what happens if we do something different? Initially it may feel scary. However if you keep doing it, after a while it will start to feel normal. That is when we have shifted our comfort zone and learnt something new.
The art is to keep trying and finding what is right for you. Think about what is normal for you. Does it work. What are your relationships like with those you love. If you asked them what would they say about you that you may not be aware of?
Observe your feelings and think about your patterns of behaviour. Is it time to do something different and maybe experience that scary feeling. Breathe deeply and while your heart is fluttering look around. Your perception may just have shifted.
Today I talked at a women’s group. They were all there because they had to be. We looked at how our memories can affect the way we are today.
I asked them if they felt they’d reached their full potential. All of them said No.
So I ask you, dear readers. Have you reached your full potential? What would it look like if you had and how would that be different from today?
I asked these women what messages they continually give themselves. Are they kind to themselves. Sadly they said No. When they look in the mirror they are critical about themselves. ‘My hair’s a mess, I’m too fat, nothing looks good on me, and so on. These are the messages they have been left with from their childhood.
I gave them a challenge. Each morning when they look in the mirror to say to themselves. ‘Wow I look gorgeous’. They laughed and thought I was mad.
But if we don’t say it to ourselves why is anyone else going to say it to us?
Go on give it a try and see if it makes a difference to your day.
How often do we tell others what we don’t want them to do?
The sentence usually starts with
‘I wish you wouldn’t do…….’
‘For heavens sake why do you do……’
I wonder what it would be like if instead of telling people what we don’t want them to do, we tell them what we do want them to do.
So for example
‘Don’t leave your cup in the sitting room’ becomes
‘Please take your cup out to the kitchen’
‘Why do you never make your bed’ becomes
‘Can you make your bed please’
I suspect we may end up with less arguments…..
Creativity is very important to me. I like colour and beauty. I like creating something from nothing. I can’t draw people or paint scenes, but I enjoy making collages and colouring books.
I like putting ingredients together to make one whole thing. I don’t like cooking but I love writing. My ingredients are the words which I bring together and move around until I am happy with how it sounds. I like seeing how things grow and change.
I have created children, a home, a garden, relationships, a life. I consciously expand my vision to think creatively, to explore different options and new ideas.
Traditionally I have given my creativity away, I have admired it in others and not recognised it in myself. Now that I celebrate my creativity it grows and I am proud that it defines me.
When I hear others say ‘I’m not creative’ I say ‘you are, you just don’t know it yet’.
Tone of voice is so important in communication.
The question ‘What are you looking at?’ Strings 5 words together.
This question could be an innocent enquiry into the direction of someone’s vision or the question could be asked in an accusatory way that is likely to start an argument. The question has the same words but it can mean something quite different just by adjusting the tone and emphasis on the word you.
Have you heard the following or have you said it to someone else ‘ It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’ If you get an unexpected negative reaction from something you have said, reflect on what you have said and more importantly how you may have said it.
Such a massive response to the programme and what saddened me but didn’t surprise me was how many people are suffering with a violent child. This is a situation that happens to thousands and it has been hidden for a long time.
Many of you have commented that you feel judged as parents and that’s a hard place to get stuck at. The difficulty is that if you stay feeling judged then nothing will change. You still have to deal with your child. All of you have spoken about the love you have for your children which is wonderful. However that doesn’t mean you have to put up with being hit.
We cannot change the past but we can make it work for us. The one thing you know without a doubt is what doesn’t work. So think about doing something different. If what doesn’t work is trying to reason with them or to control them like Bobbi in the programme then walk away, like she’s learnt to do with JJ. He was very clearly telling her what to do but her love for him was blocking her listening.
For Tracy, she clearly said that it was easier for her to have Franklin occupied – this meant he was missing out on her attention. That was also backed up by his Dad not taking any notice. Franklin also was very astute in knowing what he needed.
It might be worth asking your child when they’re calm, not so much about why they’re behaving in this way but what do they need.
If you’re willing to really listen and to be prepared to do something different then who knows things might change for you too.
Think about what difference it would make to your relationships if you reacted less and responded more.
If you look at the two words they beautifully illustrate the difference in behaviour – respond ability, (the ability to respond) or re-act, (act again).
Respond is a thoughtful behaviour while react is automatic, without thought or consideration of others. Often when we react our ability to think clearly has been overwhelmed by emotional triggers.
When you begin to notice that you are reacting to others it is time to recharge, take a break, and look after your self. It could be simply that you are not refuelling your body with enough sleep and healthy food.
It is likely that you recharge your phone battery daily, how do you recharge yourself? Find out what works for you, practice it daily and notice how much calmer and in control you feel.
How can we tell if someone likes us or cares about us?
I have been thinking about this recently. It is easy to trip off the tongue ‘I love you’ but what does that actually mean? How do we measure love? And how important is it to feel loved and cared for? If we don’t feel it what happens to us?
In my experience saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t really mean very much unless the actions match the words. So what does that mean for our children?
It’s easy to say ‘I love you’ but is the meaning getting through? Do our children actually feel loved? If you are unsure then start doing random acts of kindness to them. It’s important to have rules, consequences and boundaries. It’s necessary for children to know that their parents will keep them safe even when they are rebelling against those rules. However they will accept them much more readily if we intersperse the rules with occasional words of kindness. One parent described this well. She said ‘Make their hearts melt at least once a day’
Imagine what someone would need to do to make your heart melt and then do that for your children……
In doing so you will be building emotional closeness which will stay with your child as they grow to adulthood.