Why is it that relationships thrive or falter? I believe that relationships, organizations, and more broadly - systems - fail slowly and then quickly because of conversations that aren't happening. I've heard it said that the Queen of Denmark once commented that all the wars that have ever been fought were a result of a conversation that hadn't taken place. Why don't we have those conversations?
In my experience it appears that thriving relationships have healthy, open communication in common. That doesn't mean easy, nice conversations though. Like any system that is generative, creative tension often rules the day--opposing viewpoints able to exist in the same room, in the same conversation with trust and safety. A place where every voice gets to be "right, only partially" -- thanks CRR Global. And yet, paradoxically, it is only when we let ourselves be vulnerable that the real conversations begin.
What can we do? There is a three-pronged process toward better communication. The first step is to become better acquainted with one's self. It's no surprise that "Know Thyself..." was inscribed on the Gates of Delphi. Self-actualization must be an on-going process. The second step is to become a better listener (you know, two ears and one mouth) so that you can really hear what other people are saying and feeling. The third and crucial step for thriving relationships is to co-actively create an intentional, meaningful shared "we" space in relationship with others. Masterful, conscious, intentional relationship able to hold differences with grace and respect.
So why don't those crucial, fierce conversations take place? Because too often we are unwilling to dive deep into our own internal stuff, emerge a better listener of others and then create the "we" place where the best of both worlds has a voice. When this happens, truly transformational things can take place in our homes, our communities and in our world.
What's your first step?