Our level of happiness and satisfaction in life are in direct correlation of how we communicate. Communication is not only a verbal language exchange but is also body language and behaviors as well as transactions we engage in. The way we express ourselves is as unique as our fingerprints and with this uniqueness also comes a lot of confusion and misinterpretations. This is because everyone understands each other through their own life experiences and not through those who are trying to communicate with us. So how do we get on the same page with those we live with and care about? How do we lessen the misunderstandings with loved ones, and even those we work or go to school with? Developing clear communication and understanding of how others communicate will allow us to gain a better understanding of what they are trying to tell us, as well as sending clear messages of how we information.
Growing up we often take on the communication style of those we live with. If our parents are yellers, we often find ourselves raising our voices to get our message across; or if our parents are passive-aggressive in their communication, we learn early on how to manipulate others to get what we want. Likewise if our parents communicate clearly, then we too will communicate our needs and wants clearly as well. We can always change our communication style when we gain new skills and start to set healthy boundaries in our life.
When we enter into romantic relationships, it’s so important to be clear with our feelings and to express what we feel comfortable with. Through healthy communication, we begin to set healthy boundaries that are very important for our health and safety. We let our significant others know what behaviors we are okay with and what will not tolerate. We learn how to ask for respect, trust, and loyalty, and we communicate when our needs are not being met and we need to go our separate ways. Our partner may interpret this communication style as selfish, bossy, or even rude, but we can communicate all these boundaries in clear and loving ways. Their failure to understand and unwillingness to honor our boundaries is a clear indication that they are not the person for you. Boundaries are a set of guidelines and rules that help to contribute to an equal understanding of who you are and how you desire your relationship to function. So how do we know if we have healthy boundaries in our relationships? There are a couple of signs that illustrate clearly when boundaries in a romantic relationship may not be healthy; jealousy, mistrust, constant questioning of where or with whom you have been, dictating how you should dress and language that is hurtful.
Boundaries are not just for romantic relationships. Itʻs equally important to set healthy boundaries with our friends, classmates, siblings, and even parents and other adults in our lives. Learning to communicate when you feel as though your boundaries are not being respected is an invaluable life skill that will serve you well throughout your life. When you learn how to set healthy boundaries and engage in healthy communication, you will also be able to respect others’ boundaries and have a better understanding of when you may have crossed their boundaries. Boundaries help us to not get taken advantage of by others and are a protection to our mental and physical health.
The key to communication is to be clear and forthcoming with your needs and wants with those around you. Author Gary Chapman shares, “All of us want to be known and loved. Thatʻs universal. However, how we want to be loved is unique to each of us.” Be brave with those around you, share with them your thoughts and you open yourself up to the love you deserve.
To learn more about love, communication, and Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, we are hosting a virtual workshop on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 11:00-1:00 pm (HST). We will be doing a book study on the book, A Teenʻs Guide to the 5 Love Languages: How to Understand Yourself and Improve All Your Relationships. All participants will receive the book and a few extra goodies to help with communication. For $25 off, use the coupon code: HOAALOHA