Healthy communication

communicationCommunication is good!

Communication is so important for work, families, relationships, everything! When people get upset or anxious or fearful they react in different ways. Many times they communicate in an unproductive, unhealthy way. Some people might stuff everything inside and become quiet and fearful. They may get angry and loud and argumentative. They might try and control everyone and everything around them. One of my defects is that I stuff everything inside and become quiet and fearful.

I am learning to quiet my fears, think about things and then practice communicating in more healthy ways. In doing so, I learn that sometimes I have jumped to the wrong conclusion, or that things are really not as bad as I had imagined. Even when something is as bad as I had imagined, communication opens up new paths, new ideas, or a change in thinking or behavior that would never have happened if I had remained silent. I can ask about what happened. I can talk about how I’m feeling and about what I want and about what I’m doing and learning.

As I express myself and model healthy communication I will be happier and my relationships will be better. My defects of being quiet and fearful can turn into strengths over time as I practice communicating.

Immediate decisions

Or wise decisions?decisions

I used to make decisions by reacting to my confusion, anger or fear. These do not make a good base for decision making! My life was out of control.

I’m learning in support groups that I don’t have to make a decision right this second, or when I’m feeling intense emotions. I can say “Let me think about that” or “I will get back to you on that”. If I say something I later regret I can go back and say “I made a mistake, this is what I really want to do”.

I am learning that emotions are natural and human. It is OK to feel feelings, to go through them, then to let them go. To help me deal with my emotions I can talk to a trusted friend, write in my journal or go for a walk or swim. I can calmly weigh the pros and cons of a matter. I can pray for guidance and inspiration.

No one is perfect and today I still don’t make decisions perfectly. But, I can give myself more time to think about things. When I give myself permission to take risks and realize I don’t have to do things perfectly I feel less stress. If something is worth doing, I might do it badly at first while I am learning to do it, and that is OK. I can make good decisions. My self-confidence is growing.

My defects return with fear

defectsFear and Defects.

Fear is often the catalyst for bringing out my defects and old behaviors. Trying to control other people, places or things – things over which I have no power, can trigger my fear. Living in the past or the future can also trigger my fear.

When I try to control things over which I have no power, I become fearful and anxious. When I remember that I can only control me and put the focus back on myself, my responsibilities and then my fear shrinks. I remember I can handle my own responsibilities with God’s help.

When I spend too much time living in the past, I feel fearful and guilty. When I spend too much time thinking about the future I start to worry and get fearful. Living in the present moment helps me to be calm and more peaceful. When my mind is going round in circles about the past or the future, I can focus on what I’m doing right now and my fear recedes. I can focus on enjoying what I’m eating, put my energy into cleaning, cook a fabulous meal or focus on whatever I’m doing right now. These are precious moments that I don’t want to lose by living in the past or worrying about the future.

Fear is a normal and natural human feeling. There are many things that can trigger my fear. Learning about the atonement in support groups has given me tools that I can use to let go of fear.

What are my responsibilities?

responsibilitiesMy responsibilities.

I used to think that I had to handle everything myself. I’ve learned through support groups to look at things and take only what is my own and let others handle their own responsibilities. When my responsibilities grow large and overwhelming, I can ask God for help.

I thought that doing things for others was good and kind. I thought of it as service. But, I’ve learned that taking over can deprive others from the learning and growth they need to become independent, learn from their own mistakes, have increased self-confidence and more self-esteem. Of course there is a time for service to others. God is helping me to see the difference.

When I am overwhelmed and ask God for help, amazing things can happen. Sometimes I recognize that I need help and should ask for help and delegate some tasks. I might realize that something I think I need to do is really unnecessary and can just let it go. A new solution to a problem might come to mind. I am learning to communicate with God about my problems and feelings and to ask for help more often.

Sometimes I still try to do everything myself. But I am quicker now to recognize that I need to take care of myself, let others take care of themselves, and ask my Heavenly Father every day for help in all I do. My problems may be too big to solve by myself, but if I am willing, God will help me. I am not alone.