The foundation for inner work is established with Radical honesty and Mirroring. Now it’s time to reflect on responsible communication about what we’ve discovered, think and feel. In this article you’ll learn about two fundamental communication skills that have the power to shift your relationships to another level – especially in emotionally-tough situations:
The I-Perspective & The Meta-Perspective
Across the world more than 7.000 different languages are spoken. All of them are simplified sets of symbols to describe what we perceive. All of them are inadequate by their very nature. Language is amazing, yes. But there’s always room for misunderstanding, and it’s quite useful to be aware of that fact. Have you ever witnessed two people talking about two completely different topics – not understanding each other at all? That’s not a rare case! How much of what we want to get across is really understood? The two approaches that I’m about to describe help reduce miscommunication and support connection on a deeper level.
1. The I-Perspective
Let’s say we are in a difficult conversation where there is emotional involvement. Let it be at work or in private life – it doesn’t matter. Looking at the illustration above we see the two circles in which the people are standing. These circles represent their I-Zones. Our guy on the left communicates something while leaving his I-Zone and tapping into hers. This means trouble, as there’s a high potential for her taking what he says personally. Here are a few examples to illustrate the do’s and don’ts:
⛔ You’re thoughtless! Because of you I have to take care of everything.
✅ I feel left out and the responsibility that I take on feels like a heavy burden.
⛔ That’s so mean! Why do you make me feel this way?
✅ I’m hurt and I feel sad. I would like to better understand the situation.
⛔ This clearly is your fault! Somehow you only seem to care about yourself.
✅ I feel left out and I would like to be appreciated and seen for who I am.
It all comes down to sharing from the I-Perspective: I think this, I feel that. It sounds almost too simple, but it’s miraculous. By leaving out accusations and staying on our side of the conversation, we take out the energetic charge that often leads to misunderstanding and arguments. This is one way that taking responsibility directly manifests in communication.
2. The Meta-Perspective
Let’s amp up our game after practicing the I-Perspective and explore what I call the Meta-Perspective. In order to do this we need to be aware of what we think and feel. What’s actually going on within us in a given situation? As shown in the illustration above, we shift into observing ourselves to then vulnerably share what we perceive. Here are a few examples:
✅ To be honest… right now… I feel very insecure and vulnerable. I’m afraid to make a mistake. Please take that into account and give me some space.
✅ Can I share something with you? I feel very low on energy right now and I would like to be more present in this discussion. How would it feel for you to continue in half an hour after taking a breath of fresh air?
✅ It would be a great relief to find clarity, but for now I feel totally confused and overwhelmed. I would love for you to help me sort through this if you’re up for it. What do you think?
Yes, this requires some courage and trust, but it’s highly rewarding! Sharing the Meta-Perspective opens up a great space for understanding and connection. As we become more aware of our own inner world and share our perceptions from a place of vulnerability, we literally invite others to do the same.
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