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communication

UNARGUABLE TRUTH & OPENHEARTED LISTENING

 

We are raised to think critically, to articulate and defend concepts, explanations, beliefs and ideas. However, this way of thinking and communicating doesn't work in relationships with loved-ones, as it inevitably leads to arguments, defensiveness and disconnection, rather than connection. 

"SPEAKING THE UNARGUABLE TRUTH IS THE MOST POWERFUL OF ANY SKILL I HAVE, AND FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE THE MOST CHALLENGING."

Julia Colwell, PhD

Happy Couple

THE COMMUNICATION SHIFT

Shifting into speaking unarguably likely won't feel natural at first. We are trained from a young age to "be right," get good grades, defend and explain ourselves. This way of communicating works great in many aspects of life, like the workplace, however it's going to result in Power-Struggles in relationships, and it's not going to get you the deep level of love and personal connection you crave and need. 

INTENT TO LEARN

The major shift is your intention. The key is to move out of the Intent to Defend/Protect/Explain (disconnecting) and into the Intent to Learn (connecting). The first step is to have the Intent to Learn about how YOU are feeling and what you are experiencing in the moment. This provides your UNARGUABLE TRUTH. This shift requires awareness, effort and practice.   

"IF SOMEONE IS ARGUING WITH YOU, YOU ARE SAYING SOMETHING ARGUABLE. SPEAKING THE UNARGUABLE TRUTH TAKES US BEYOND OUR PROJECTIONS TO THE ONLY PROVABLE TRUTH THERE IS: OUR OWN EXPERIENCE."

Julia Colwell, PhD

ARGUABLE STATEMENTS VS UNARGUABLE TRUTHS

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE

Open Book

 

THE FORMULA

UNARGUABLE TRUTH = SENSATION + NEED-or-WANT

Notice the profound difference between an Arguable Statement and Unarguable Truth. Unarguable Truths describe what you are sensing (feeling) and experiencing in the moment. You may want to state what you need in the moment as well. It is especially important to take time away to process if you are triggered, angry or anxious. 

ARGUABLE STATEMENT

  • "I feel like you're attacking me."

UNARGUABLE TRUTH

  • "I feel tightness in my chest. I need to take a day to collect my thoughts."

 

ARGUABLE STATEMENT

  • "You always complain. This is going nowhere."

UNARGUABLE TRUTH

  • "I feel light-headed. I need to think about this and talk later."

ARGUABLE STATEMENT

  • "I feel ugly because you don't compliment me anymore."

UNARGUABLE TRUTH (sometimes you can simply state a NEED-or-WANT)

  • "I want more of your compliments. I love them."

ARGUABLE STATEMENT

  • "I'm sad you don't understand me."

UNARGUABLE TRUTH

  • "My heart feels heavy and I feel misunderstood. I need a moment to find a better way to word this."

"As a child you HAD messages from family AND SCHOOL to keep your mouth shut and remain invisible. You no longer need to be invisible. If people doN'T notice you, they CAN'T SHAME OR criticize YOU, but they also CAN'T love you or attend to your needs. Make yourself and your needs known."

Beverly Engel, PhD

PRESENT MOMENT EXPERIENCE

YOUR BODY IS TRYING TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED

Wellness Coach

AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE

Once you connect with your current bodily experience, sensations and emotions, you will be able to communicate from this place, with authenticity. Thoughts and thinking are based on the past and future. Bodily sensations and emotions are IN THE MOMENT. This is your truest form of 'Self' and reality. If you want to know how you feel about something, how do you feel about it right now?

 

GENUINE NEEDS

Feelings and bodily sensations also tell you what you need. For example, when you feel thirsty, you need water. Feeling angry means you feel violated or you've detected an unmet need. It's your job to realize what the violation or unmet need is. Then you can communicate your needs. See Emotional Health Skills to learn more.

"THERE ARE ONLY TWO POSSIBLE INTENTIONS IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT: THE INTENT TO LEARN [CONNECTING] OR THE INTENT TO PROTECT [DISCONNECTING]."

Margaret Paul, PhD

SHIFT YOUR DRIFTS

MALADAPTIVE PROTECTIVE STRATEGIES

 

FEEL YOUR EXPERIENCE

Learning to feel your experience, with the Intent to Learn, takes practice. Society's emphasis on thinking, analyzing, protecting and detecting for any smidgen of attack or rejection is like living in a state of "survival." This results in a slew of maladaptive protective strategies and DRIFTS (SHIFT YOUR DRIFTS worksheet below).

 

FOCUS ON SELF vs FOCUS ON OTHERS

Not only does "survival-mode" trigger cortisol and other stress chemicals, it disconnects us! When we're hyper-focused on others (trying to mind-read, please, avoid rejection, etc.) we are closed off from our present experience and feelings. If we are disconnected from ourselves, we are by default, disconnected from others. 

Woman

"The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."

Brene Brown, PhD

OPENHEARTED LISTENING

CONNECTING WITH CURIOUSITY

 

INTENT TO LEARN ABOUT OTHERS

We can never be completely sure about what others are thinking and feeling. The rabbit-hole of trying to guess what your loved-ones are thinking and feeling, and then reacting to these guesses is painful, frustrating, and disconnecting. Have the Intent to Learn about your loved-ones' inner-experience. Remember, authentic connection is a human need. It entails feeling seen, heard, valued and understood, which Openhearted Listening can provide. 

Best Friends

"ANGER IS A SIGNAL THAT WE ARE GETTING WHAT WE DON'T WANT [AN INTRUSION OR VIOLATION] OR NOT GETTING WHAT WE DO WANT [UNMET NEED OR OBSTACLE]."

Julia Colwell, PhD

WORKSHEETS TO PRACTICE

 

 UNARGUABLE

TRUTHS

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dr margaret paul video on inner bonding journaling

EMOTIONAL HEALTH SKILLS

BALANCING

POWER STRUGGLES

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emotional health skills

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"WE ARE THE SOURCE OF WHAT WE ARE FEELING. ANYONE GETS TO FEEL ANYTHING, ANYTIME FOR ANY REASON. 

Julia Colwell, PhD

 

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Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.  It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care.