We all have images of ourselves as being a “certain kind of person,” so it hurts when someone points out how their perception of us may differ from our own. While haters will be haters, for this discussion, the focus is on those assessments that come from significant others —whether our partners, children or close friends.

Such revelations feel like a bomb dropped. We’re shocked, want to run for cover or fight to defend ourselves. Yet when they they land, it’s listening & quiet self-reflection that is in demand, particularly if the message has been said with tears, maybe even anger, that shares heartfelt pain, by someone we love.

We tend to hurt those we love. Not because we’re mean people: Because we’re works in progress and because close relationships allow us to see the areas in others that we might think could use our assistance to improve. Sometimes we’re not even aware of how we might be criticizing another. The ways we show disapproval are as varied as what was foisted upon us throughout our lives, and in turn, with awareness or not, we tend to impose the same learned behaviors/responses on others. A facial expression; not listening with our full attention; a quick, poorly considered response; an unwitting sign of displeasure; jests or attempts at humor with a subtext; sarcastic replies & standards we consciously or unwittingly apply…these and more can shake another to their core, chiseling away, destroying intimacy that we crave.

Good communication takes heart, time and commitment. It’s hard & can hurt. But the results of not choosing to listen & undertake self-assessments can be far more painful if important relationships deteriorate. Nobody really likes hearing what we’re doing wrong. But it’s only by accepting that maybe our ways of communicating might benefit from some improvements that we can achieve more loving, peaceful & constructive relationships.

@DianGriesel is @SilverDisobedience @WilhelminaModels @ApertureTalent #writing  @Stonesongnyc #selfawareness #selfdiscovery #aging #healthyaging #communication #DGIcomm More in profile & DianGriesel.com