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Holiday Courage

Holiday Courage:
The Power of Communication

www.DebbieFord.com - November 18, 2012

 As we head toward Thanksgiving here in the United States, there are so many things to be grateful for. And of course there are so many things to be disheartened by. There are always things we can fix, change and transform and other things we can do nothing about. Today, I want to bring to your attention something we can all work on that will not only change the lives of those around us but will change our lives as well. "What's that?" you might ask. Well, I will tell you -- it is the way that we communicate.

The way we ask questions, give answers, listen, and share information can make someone's day or it can ruin it. I'm sure you've had someone say something to you or respond to a request that you've made in a way that took the sparkle right out of your spirit. In fact, there have probably been thousands of times that you were zinged and then, without knowing it, you stored these moments in your subconscious. These upsetting communications have a devastating effect on our self-esteem and on our ability to live an open-hearted life. Even if we think we are tough (like me), they do affect us if they are not properly digested and categorized in our minds.

Of course, this is just half of the equation because you and I have also delivered communications that have hurt other people, knowingly and unknowingly. There are probably hundreds of times that your communications have been delivered and received in a way that felt insensitive or left someone thinking, "What was that?!" Whether you did it to your kids, your parents, your co-workers, or your friends, a communication that is without thought and integrity is a communication that needs to be cleaned up.

As we head into the holidays, a time rich with opportunities to see our ingrained patterns so clearly, ones often birthed in our families of origin, I want to invite you to muster some holiday courage and to do some shadow work.

First, I invite you to uncover the shadow that doesn't even think about what you say or how you say it and then to make a list of the communications that you have delivered that you know left someone feeling unloved, disrespected, uncared for, or _______________ (fill in the blank). The shadow might sound like, "It just doesn't matter" or "I'm a great communicator! I don't need to do this homework!" or "I'm clueless." To find the shadow, just close your eyes for a moment and ask yourself, "What hidden thought or belief have I been unaware of that affects my communications?"

When you see your communications, the consequences, and the shadow more clearly, please don't beat yourself up. That will not make you a better communicator. In fact, it will do the opposite. So just be with what you uncover, acknowledging what's there. Breathe into it and then forgive yourself by making a commitment to evolve and transform your level of communication.

As you read this message, notice what communications you are storing right now in your body and your psyche -- either communications you've received or ones that you've delivered. Make a list of these and ask yourself, "What would I need to know to allow these communications to dissolve back into the universe?" Then see if there is something you need to clean up with someone about feelings that you are harboring. Could you apologize or make a kind request for someone to apologize to you? "I'm sorry" are magic words that can heal a heart and restore a relationship back into integrity.

Finally, watch your words this month. See if you can make a simple adjustment by just sweetening up your delivery and bringing awareness to each and every word that you speak.