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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Interpersonal Communication

We move now to a consideration of the information exchange that happens when you talk to other people - interpersonal communication.

People talk to one another because they have needs that must be met. They require direction, or food, or relief from pain, or quiet, or touch, or acknowledgment. Getting our needs met helps give us a sense of mastery in our life. Without shared information you are, like the autistic person, alone in the world. You don't know what to expect. Without the ability to communicate, learning becomes an almost impossible task. Without mutual understanding, relationships break down and jobs don't get done. Lacking the needed energy, life becomes imbalanced. What often results, then, is a state of disease.While many of us would rather blame others when our communications break down or our directions are interpreted incorrectly, it is important for us to assume responsibility for how we communicate, including some assurance that we are being understood. Although other people have a role in any communication exchange, we can't force them to do things our way, nor can we expect them to change. Ultimately we can only work on ourselves. In line with that, we can maximize the possibility that our communication is free of disruptive roadblocks, essentially nonjudgmental, and even understood.

Aiming for total agreement in communication sets you up for failure. You can't win at that game. Aiming for understanding and mutual respect offers the best chance of ensuring that everybody can win. Actually, the effectiveness of communication is directly related to the degree of trust between two individuals.

In order to trust others, we need to allow trust for ourselves. We nourish trust for ourselves by taking responsibility for our own lives and living with integrity, authenticity, love, and compassion. You'll recognize these attitudes as the chief supports of wellness, too.

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