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How finding it difficult to communicate can impact you

Being able to communicate is essential for living. We need to be able to communicate with others to get things done. Communication challenges such as the fear of public speaking, anxiety about interacting at social gatherings, worry about what to say in meetings etc, can affect your self-confidence and self-esteem. A good first step in getting over your problem is to look at the beliefs you currently have about your communication.

Unhelpful beliefs you might have about your communication

Unhelpful beliefs behind the way you communicate usually arise through the experiences you have in life and the perceived meanings you give to those experiences. For instance, examples of beliefs about communication you may have could be the following:

“I can never speak in front of a group.”

“I fear being rejected by other people.”

“I look foolish because I can’t express myself.”

It could be a whole host of other beliefs.

The more experiences you have, which you find unpleasant, the more beliefs like those above repeat, which then strengthens them. Before you know it, your communication problems become problems about you as a person.

Beliefs about your identity

“I’m a bad communicator.”

“I’m too shy to talk with people.”

“I’m worthless.”

“I’m tense.”

“I’m stupid.”

“I’m inadequate.”

When beliefs become about you, they seem final, rigid and unmovable. However, with some effort, such beliefs can be changed and you can empower yourself to communicate confidently.

A good place to start to overcome negative beliefs, involves questioning and doubting your current beliefs around communication, finding evidence to the contrary and using this evidence to help you overcome what you currently believe.

Has it always been like this?

If you currently believe you’re a poor communicator, then have you always believed this?

Has there ever been a time when you did communicate well? Even if it’s just one time you can think of and it may have been a long time ago, it is still evidence to the contrary of your current belief.

What was it like that time when you did communicate effectively? Remember the time as vividly as you can and consider how you can use this experience now to help you overcome the unhelpful belief.

Do some difficulties with communication really define you?

You may be experiencing some challenges with communication, but does this really define who you are a person? Surely, you are more than a problem you are facing?

For instance, if you’re having challenges with giving presentations at work and because of this, you tell yourself “I can’t do anything right”, is this really true? Surely you can still do other things.

We humans usually take on multiple roles and positions in different stages of our lives. A good way to get unstuck from negative beliefs about communication is to consider what else are you that is, more than the current difficulty you’re facing. Perhaps you’re a mother, a father, a brother or sister, a good musician or a talented author.

Have you considered you might have exaggerated a little?

Let’s say for instance, you’re in a social situation and suddenly you become unable to speak because you become anxious. You then tell yourself “I’m going to die if I don’t get out of here.” The next time you think about going into the same social situation, you just avoid going altogether, telling yourself “I can’t go there. I’ll die.”

This would be an example of taking a situation or experience and exaggerating it. In reality, you wouldn’t die from going to a social gathering.

It’s helpful to bring such beliefs into conscious awareness and really consider whether what you tell yourself will happen, will happen in reality. Most likely it never would.

Are you taking it too personal?

For example let’s say you’re at work and an important potential client comes in for a meeting with you and three other colleagues. The meeting happens and you don’t get the order. You then blame yourself because you believe you were too passive in the meeting because you were slightly nervous.

However, in this case you forgot this potential client was only interested in seeing if your company could do the work cheaper than a competitor, which your company couldn’t afford to do.

Hence, if you believe aspects of your communication, are the cause of undesirable outcomes of situations, then a good habit is to look for other reasons why an outcome might have happened. They are usually there. You just need to spend some time looking for them.

Continue getting into communication situations

You can do a lot of work by yourself just through looking at beliefs you currently have about your communication and looking for evidence to suggest otherwise, or through considering other aspects of life in which you have made progress, or by looking for situations where you might have over exaggerated about.

In order to help re-enforce this work, actually going into those situations where you find communicating difficult, is a great way to slowly become de-sensitised to the difficulties you are experiencing.

As you do go into communication situations,  notice how you’re feeling without judging yourself and practice new communication behaviours. By adopting such an approach you’re just trying things out. This then takes off the pressure to communicate in a particular way and gives a sense of always working on improving your communication and getting better.

Friends, it’s over to you:

• What other ways can we use to overcome limiting beliefs about the way we communicate?
• Please share your valuable views, experiences and thoughts in the comments box below.
• Please also share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.

Photo Credit: Andrew Feinberg