The level of mutual respect and trust often are quite different in relationships where communication is effective and easy and relationships where communication is challenging.
When you don’t trust someone, does your communication stay in surface level niceties? Do you share your honest views? Do conflicts feel personal? Do you fear retribution?
Just as communication is built on trust, trust is built on respect. Respect often falters when judgment is present.
Think about when you’ve judged yourself for not living up to your own standards. Were you truly respecting yourself in that moment? What did that feel like? Did your body tense up, maybe in your shoulders, gut or throat? What were your emotions? How were you talking to yourself?
Now think of a time when you were disagreeing with a colleague, family member, or friend, and it started to feel personal. Maybe you respect this person most of the time, but did you honestly respect them and their opinion in that moment? What were their emotions? Did you see tension in their jaw, fists, or shoulders?
If you want to improve your relationships and communications, experiment with nurturing respect and trust.
Prepare for conversations by recalling the ways respect the other person or people and how you are grateful for them.
During conversations look out for any signs you may be judging them: negative emotions, tension in your or their body, conflict or disagreement that feels personal.
Ground yourself by getting out of your head and into your body. Feel your feet on the ground, notice your breathing or ambient sounds.
Shift your focus to one of curiosity, empathy, and compassion. What are you feeling? What’s challenging about what you’re discussing? What might the other person be feeling? What are their needs, assumptions, and challenges? Take the time to really understand them before expressing your views.
These steps are foundational to emotional intelligence and resilience. If these are topics you enjoy, consider subscribing to my blog. If you’d like to develop these habits of mind for yourself, a direct report, or your organization, I would love to chat with you! You can set up a free consultation.