Communication / Kommunikation

Communicating Mindfully

Mindful communication is a way of being in the world. It puts a large emphasis on relationships – the way we interact with ourselves and the world around us. It gives us the chance to allow our communication not only to reflect our deepest values, but also to evolve and develop them. Mindful communication is based on values, needs and understanding. It is not weak and appeasing, but offers instead an ethical voice to our needs and a holistic tool to reaching our goals. Success can only be sustainable if we are working with our environment and those around us. Through mindful communication we can understand each person’s needs and goals and bring them into alignment with our own.

Achtsam kommunizieren

Achtsame Kommunikation ist eine Weise sich in der Welt auszudrücken. Sie rückt Beziehungen in den Vordergrund und achtet darauf wie wir mit uns und anderen umgehen. Dies gibt uns die Möglichkeit unser Wertegerüst zu reflektieren und dieses weiter zu entwickeln. Achtsame Kommunikation basiert auf Werten, Bedürfnissen und Verständnis. Sie ist weder schwach noch beschwichtigend. Vielmehr verleiht sie unseren Bedürfnissen ein ethisches Rückgrat und hilft uns ganzheitlich dabei unsere Ziele zu erreichen. Erfolg kann nur dann nachhaltig sein, wenn wir mit unserer Umgebung und den Menschen um uns herum im Einklang stehen. Wir können die Bedürfnisse und Absichten anderer besser verstehen und sie mit unseren abgleichen.


What is mindfulness?

With the word mindfulness we simply mean being here – paying attention to whatever is happening in our lives in this moment. It is the art of seeing clearly whatever is going on right now. Mindfulness gives us a way to recognize our habitual reactions to the things happening to us and around us. It helps us see our patterns of behavior and thought, which are often habitual and unconscious, and often neither appropriate nor helpful. Practicing mindfulness allows us to gain more clarity and insight – both into our own experience and into the experience of others. This increased understanding gives our choices greater scope and depth. We can begin to thoughtfully respond to others and to life, instead of falling into our usual reactions. The term mindfulness is nothing really, and then again it is everything. I suppose it is the quality of leaving the stories in our head and entering into what is really going on – instead of interpreting everything through the filter of past experiences, expectations, fears and hopes, simply seeing what’s going on. This can really be challenging for many – we spend a lot of time caught up in our minds and in our stories of what’s going on. Taking the effort to cultivate mindfulness is definitely worth it – through mindfulness we improve the quality of our relationships and our communication, and thus the quality of our lives.

What's the difference between mindful communication and 'regular' communication?

Mindful communication is not a method or technique that you can apply to make your communication function. Mindful communication is a way to become more aware of yourself and those around you, which in turn makes it infinitely easier to communicate with yourself and those around you. Mindful communication is waking up to what’s going on right now. It’s becoming aware of what you really want and need and what the others really want and need as well. It’s taking a good look at our foundations and perhaps really seeing ourselves for the first time. Mindful communication is understanding that there is no formula, no technique, no method to understanding. There is simply slowing down, listening to ourselves and others, figuring out what we are really saying and allowing each to be whatever they want to be.

Are good communication skills really learnable?

Good communication is learnable. The more we learn about ourselves and others, the better our communication becomes. Good communication is connected to empathy – empathy not only for others but also for ourselves. By understanding our needs and values, we understand better the way we and others tick. Deeper understanding leads to better communication. Better communication leads to better relationships which in turn leads to an increased ability to reach short and long term goals and more satisfaction and happiness in life in general.

There is, however, no handbook or how-to’s because good communication grows out of an authentic desire to understand other and yourself better. And there can never be a how-to for authenticity. Each person communicates a bit differently. It’s not the words we choose that is so important, it’s the spirit the words grow out of that impacts others. If we look at that spirit, the words generally will take care of themselves.

What does empathy have to do with communication? Does it mean I have to like everybody?

Empathy is not the same as liking. Empathy is related to understanding and being open to the situation of another. I don’t have to approve or like in order to have empathy. Empathy refers to the capacity to recognize the emotions that another (or I myself) is experiencing. Good communication grows from a capacity to have empathy because it enables us to be on the same page and understand the experience of the other.

Why do you talk about relationships so much?

Our relationships are the foundation of our lives. We stand in a relationship to each and every person we come into contact with. By the word “relationship“ we do not necessarily mean romantic relationships, but instead the way two or more people or things are connected. We do not exist in a vacuum, we are not alone – even those of us who feel very alone. We define ourselves, in essence, by the way we interact with other people and things and this interaction can be seen as our extended communication. This interaction, or communication, defines how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others. This has a large influence on our success, happiness and overall satisfaction. The more we become aware of the condition of our relationships, the more aware we become of the way we communicate (interact). This gives us greater power over the events and happenings in our lives and thus a greater influence over the outcomes. Becoming mindful of our relationships helps us to become mindful of ourselves and all that which is happening around us.