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Barnabas Center
Barnabas Center

Peace in Communication by Suzanne Stangland MA, LPC

As couples, friends, parents, and children, we all struggle with communication.  Whether we feel unheard and invalidated or confused about how to express what we are feeling, we can learn effective skills that can create more peace in our relationships.

Some helpful tips for effective communication include:

  • Actively listening by being attuned to what the speaker is saying. This is accomplished by maintaining eye contact, leaning into the conversation, and minimizing distractions so you can focus.
  • Use “I feel” statements instead of “you did” statements.
  • Repeat back to the speaker what you heard them say by paraphrasing their words into your own.
  • Ask the other person what they need from you in the conversation.
  • Hear them out completely before starting on your own expression.
  • Speak calmly and respectfully.
  • Try writing out your thoughts before you verbalize them so you say what you mean to say.
  • Avoid speaking in anger. If the conversation is becoming too angry, take a break before continuing the discussion.

The need to be right

Above are listed several tips for effective communication, but there is another aspect that can be incredibly helpful to utilize when in a discussion with others. We forgo the need to be right! How often does an argument persist because we are trying to convince the other that our way is THE right way? Communicating this way can cause us to live at odds with each other. Peaceful living is much more life-giving than living with something to prove.

So how do we go about that in the midst of a tough conversation? Hear the other out and validate their concerns, and strive to create peace with them.  This is not saying we disregard our own feelings in a situation, but rather to apologize and take responsibility for the hurt we unintentionally or intentionally caused them. You may be right in the situation! The goal is not necessarily to get the other person to accept that, but rather to let them know you are truly sorry for how they feel.  The reparation and reconciliation come in the hurt person understanding and knowing that you are trying to live at peace with them.  You are attempting to right whatever wrong they may have felt in a given moment.  The more they feel heard and validated by you the more likely they will be in trying to also live at peace with you and right the wrong they did against you.

Written By: Suzanne Stangland MA, LPC

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