Healthy Communication

Healthy Communication

  • On August 8, 2023
Healthy Communication
~Jen Hahn, LPC~It’s hard to think about what our lives would be like without communication. We know our words have the power to hurt and to heal, to bring life or death. And if communication is such a fundamental aspect of life, why does it seem so hard sometimes? When you ask yourself honestly how your communication with loved ones is going, what comes up for you?

Healthy communication is learned. If we don’t have good teachers throughout our lives, it can become difficult to have healthy relationships built around open communication, especially with our spouse, kids, and other close family/friends. When we don’t have good role models, we have to be intentional about learning it.

At Lighthouse we would love to help equip you with healthy communication skills and techniques. For now, here are a few tools to help.

1. Time Out: Calling a “time out” is a great communication skill when discussions become heated. When one or both parties become overwhelmed, one person can call a “time-out,” and the rule is that both parties must respect the request. One or both parties must also agree on a time-limit for the break so the conflict can be resumed at a later time (after 30 minutes or an hour for example). A time-out gives both parties a chance to “cool off,” reduce the intensity of emotions, and logically think through next steps to resolve the issue.

2. Active Listening: Active listening is a tool to ensure that both parties are active participants in the conversation. The idea is that one person calmly shares their thoughts and feelings about a situation, and the other person responds with a summary of what was said in order to ensure understanding. The “speaker” is allowed to share their thoughts for a minute or two (no longer than that), and then the “listener” responds with a summary of what the speaker said, including both content and meaning or feelings. The roles are then switched so both parties have a chance to honestly share their thoughts and feelings and be heard. It is important with this technique that no insults or attacks come into the mix and that both parties are allowed equal opportunity to listen and share respectfully.

3. Assertive communication: There are usually considered to be four types of communication: Assertive, Passive, Aggressive, and Passive-Aggressive. Passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive communication may result in someone getting what they want, but these types of communication are unhealthy and will almost always result in hurt, resentment, or misunderstandings. Assertive communication allows for needs to be expressed clearly, openly, and respectfully, and is characterized by calmly making a specific request without any underlying manipulation, or attacks on the other person. An example would be: “I know you’ve had a lot going on and I see that. I could really use some help around the house and would appreciate it if you would take care of the dishes and take out the trash.”

Again, these are meant to be a starting point for healthier communication. At Lighthouse we would love to help you grow and learn more in this area. Learning healthy communication can be tough, but we’d love to partner with you in the process.

Need someone to practice active listening and assertive speaking with?
Our Heavenly Father invites us to communicate with Him – He always makes time for us, He always listens, and He always responds with the perfect combination of both truth and grace. This communication, prayer, is a powerful force for good!