What kind of a communicator are you?
Can you say what’s on your mind or do you stuff it down if you think someone won’t like it?
There are many reasons we avoid sharing our authentic truth, even at times, with ourselves. Society conditions women to value ‘niceness’ above almost all other virtues. This can be in direct conflict with speaking the truth (which can always be delivered with kindness but isn’t always ‘nice’). Avoiding or denying the truth is not free. We pay with our level of satisfaction, the depth of intimacy in our relationships and often with our health as well.
That is why I am so excited to share some deep insights about how to up your communication game from my pal Dr. Neha Sangwan. Neha is an internal medicine doctor and a communication expert. I met her at a Hay House event a few years ago and reconnected with her this past summer at Soul Camp West, when we were bunkmates and both facilitating workshops. I was so inspired and intrigued by the talk she gave, that I read her phenomenal book, TalkRx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations that Create Connection, Health, and Happiness, over one weekend.
Dr.Sangwan writes about what happens in our lives (and bodies) when we don’t effectively communicate by numbing our emotions, instead of expressing them in relationships and careers.
As a therapist for the past, almost twenty years, I see effective communication as one of the top issues my clients present to me. Awareness and desire to change unhealthy communication styles is the first step to transformation. One of the most common ways to sabotage effective communication is to send mixed messages. According to Dr. Sangwan there are three primary reasons mixed messages occurs:
- Need for Approval
If you need approval for validation you may feel compelled to say,’Yes’ when you want to say,’No.’ But your body language and the stress hormones being released into your bloodstream tell a conflicting story.
- Unmet Expectations
Similarly if you have plans and your pal asks if you are OK with postponing them because she has a chance to do something else. If you say you are ‘fine’ with it but feel disappointed inside, you’re giving a mixed message (and teaching your friend that it’s OK to ditch you if something better comes along!).
3. Feeling Guilty
When we acquiesce to other people’s desires because we feel guilty for drawing a boundary or truthfully sharing our preference, we end up giving a mixed message.
All of these behaviors block you from being truly known. To help get you moving in the direction of authentic communication Dr. Sangwan has gifted us her TalkRx journal!
I hope that you enjoy my interview with Neha and that the resources and insights she shares inspire you to up your communication game because you deserve to be heard!
“We know in science that 98%, or 95% at least, of all illness is caused or exacerbated by stress.” – Neha Sangwan
- Why she moved from engineering to medicine
- How she started reexamining her patients
- The importance of connecting the dots between physical ailments and the rest of your life
- Why she wanted to help people transform their lives upon leaving the hospital
- What symptoms you can look for in your physical life
“When your mouth says yes and your heart says no, you get sick.” – Neha Sangwan
- Why people are more attuned to their external senses than their internal signals
- How people are good at numbing physical sensation
- Why mindfulness is so important
- What inspired her new book, TalkRx
- Why she practices take twos
Neha’s Five Awareness Questions:
- Why this?
- Why now?
- What might you have missed?
- What else needs to be healed?
- If you spoke from the heart, what would you say?
“I believe that your physiology is the first one to tell you, before you even know and before anybody outside you knows, it’s the first one to signal you.” – Neha Sangwan
“I want medicine and our health to be about all of us, all of our health.” – Neha Sangwan
*image courtesy of Ricky Willis