Tag Archives: andra brosh

Want to be a Better Communicator? Hold up a Mirror

frameI recently took a couple’s workshop to learn some new skills, and to refresh the ones that I have let get rusty. Brushing up on new tools to deepen my connections and nurture my relationships is an ongoing practice for me because I know that if I don’t my well-being will suffer. My relationships are the most important aspect of my life. Without connection I become untethered, and feel lost in the world.

I specifically wanted to learn more about communication, and how to diffuse power struggles and stand offs in my relationship. I couldn’t seem to get my partner to see things from my perspective, and it always seemed like someone had to win or be right for things to get resolved.

As a therapist I consider myself to be pretty savvy when it comes to relating and communicating. I pride myself on reading, learning and practicing everything I preach, and I am relentlessly hard on myself when I “lose it” or become “triggered” by my unconscious. Choosing to attend a couple’s workshop as a participant, and not as a clinician, forced me to shed my knowledge to be open to the experiential teaching being offered.

I’m trained to listen to other people’s struggles, to interpret the underlying meaning of communication, and to reflect back my interpretation of what is being said based on my education and personal experience. I sit daily with my clients analyzing their words, actions and affect; I’m careful not to bring my own judgments or reactions into the picture.

I hadn’t realized how much my clinical training and experience effected the way I relate in my relationships until I was asked to practice a well-known couple’s therapy technique called Mirroring.

I had to let go of what I thought I knew to make space for what I could learn.

Mirroring is a form of communication that allows each partner to speak openly about any feelings while their partner actively listens without reacting. The listening partner is asked to “mirror” or reflect back what was heard…verbatim. The idea is that the speaking partner’s experience is being mirrored exactly as they see it for themselves. The listening partner’s feelings, judgments, interpretations, and reactions are completely put on hold until it’s their turn to respond.

This is extremely hard to do because the instinct is to defend, counter, argue or be right. Listening to another person’s experience, and honoring it as being completely valid and true (for them) is one of the greatest relationship gifts to be given. The only other time we have the chance to experience this kind of resonance is with a primary caregiver, and the likelihood of that for anyone is slim to none.

If you think about looking in a real mirror, you will realize that what you see being reflected back is your own interpretation and version of yourself. When you practice this technique it’s as if you are holding up a mirror for the other person. It’s not your version of their version, it’s an uncontaminated, pure and organic reflection of what they are feeling and experiencing.

It’s complete resonance with their authentic self.

Mirroring works in any situation. You can use it with your children, family, friends, and even in your job. It’s a diffuser of agitation because at the core of every human being is the deep need and desire to be heard and understood. Almost all arguing and fighting stems from the feeling of being unseen or misunderstood; when we feel like our own experience of things is being challenged or questioned our defenses get heightened and we want to “fight” to be right. When we experience someone else as valuing our feelings and beliefs of what is true, we can feel safe and calm.

Mirroring builds incredible trust, and it immediately turns the space between two people from scary to sacred.

If you set an intention to be a mirroring listener, you will see your relationships improve. Walk through the world this week as a mirror for others. Let go of your need to be right, and of what you think you know to be true. You will see how habitually you relate to others, and how quick you are to bring in your own ideas of how things “should be”.

5 Ways to Hit it Out of the Park When Life Throws You a Curveball

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 4.50.15 PMBy Dr. Andra Brosh

You know as much as I do that life doesn’t always go as planned. You can fantasize and dream about how you would like things to go, but the harsh reality is that your very existence on this earth is tenuous, and your reality is founded on unpredictability, not certainty.

Once this simple truth is accepted, you can focus less on manipulating and controlling how your life unfolds, and prepare yourself for the inevitable curveball coming your way. You may have already been up to the plate to receive one, but just like in baseball, you never really know when the next one is coming, so it’s always great to be prepared.

When something happens in your life that you didn’t expect, or thought never would, it’s likely to knock you off your feet. You might get blindsided by an infidelity or divorce, diagnosed with a life threatening illness, or realize that you will never be able to have children. Losing a job, your home, or a loved one will also rock your world to the point of capsizing.

These life challenges, and the many others that can strike at any time, are really hard to contend with, but they don’t have to wreck you. Whether you know it or not, you have been training your whole life to deal with these kinds of struggles. Just like your ancestors, you inherently possess the skills you need to deal with anything that gets thrown your way. You are wired to survive.

If you have already survived a serious life challenge then you know what to expect. This is where hindsight is truly 20/20, so be sure you learn what you need to know from the past so you can apply it in the future.

If you are just stepping up to bat, and realize at this moment that a curveball is headed your way, then it’s time to hunker down, and get ready to swing. If you are still “on the bench” and haven’t had to play ball yet, this is the perfect time to start thinking about how you will handle things when they arise.

Here are 5 ways to hit that inevitable curveball out of the park:

1. Take Pause

The experience of dealing with an unexpected life challenge is filled with frenetic energy, and a sense of urgency. Instead of making hasty decisions and going full throttle toward trying to solve the issue, take a moment to digest what has happened. Slow it way down, breathe, and sit with the reality of your situation before taking any action. Hitting the pause button is always a good idea when overwhelm and chaos are omnipresent because it creates a space for thoughtful reflection, better choices, and a more engaged process.

2. Remain Present

Worry will become your silent partner when you are dealing with a curveball. Projecting into the future is a natural human response to stress and uncertainty, and the human brain is always looking for what’s “next”. You may also become riddled with regret about what you could have or should have done in the past to prevent your present situation. Getting stuck in the past or the future doesn’t serve you in these times of crisis. The goal is to remain in the present, even though this feels counter-intuitive.

3. Maintain Integrity

It’s at times like these when your character and values are put to the test. Even if you are the most patient, diligent, and high-functioning individual on the planet, you are sure to become lost, disconnected and a blubbering version of yourself at a time of crisis. Staying true to what you believe, and paying attention to how you want to come across as you move through any transition will ground you in maintaining your most authentic self.

4. Reach Out

For most people seeking help at a time of crisis is justified, but you may have a hard time asking for support even in your darkest moment. It’s common to believe that you can solve all of your problems on your own, but you actually show greater strength by seeking the counsel of a professional. There are always going to be people who can offer wisdom and experience beyond what you can give yourself. Take advantage of the many great healers out there, and give yourself the gift of growing and learning from what feels like a rock bottom. Getting the tools you need to rise above will ensure that you come out the other side better then when you went in.

5. Be Honest

A strong defense against the pain of disappointment that accompanies being hit by a curveball is denial. Not accepting your circumstances, or trying to blame the world for what is happening to you is a way to avoid what you are dealing with. You may feel a sense of shame around your situation making it harder to find the self-compassion you deserve. Remember that you are not alone, seek out others who have experienced a similar fate, and acknowledge that like everyone else in the world, your humaneness makes you immune to a perfect existence.

* * *

picofme2Dr. Andra Brosh is a Clinical Psychologist, writer, and thought leader. Her unique perspectives on life, love and connection stem from her own personal wisdom, and her knowledge of psychology and philosophy. Dr. Brosh’s work is founded on the fundamental truth that we are all wired to be relational beings, and that with the right guidance and tools everyone can find happiness and fulfillment in their interpersonal relationships.

Seeing Is Believing: How To Improve Your Relationships Through Perception

234/365 - 1 <3 photography 6/10By Dr. Andra Brosh

I like to take pictures with my very fancy camera. I love shooting photos because it’s one of the few places in my life where only my perspective matters.

When I’m taking pictures I lose all self-consciousness about how I see things, and can completely immerse myself in what I believe to be true and perfect. It’s my photo, my angle, and most importantly my point of view.

You may not know it, but your perspective of the world is extremely valuable. How you see things is just as important as how you feel. An even more important concept, however, is that your ability to share a different perspective from your own is one of the most valuable qualities you can have. Taking it even one step further, your ability to see things from another person’s perspective is an essential skill in maintaining a healthy relationship.

As human beings we have a very deep and basic need to be seen, and to have our experience and perceptions validated. When we are told that our point of view is “wrong” a little part of us dies inside, and we begin to question what we believe to be true in the world.

When you and your partner share an experience with each other that is perceived through each of your unique vantage points, neither of you are right. Denying another person’s perceptions, or questioning the validity of their perspective leaves them feeling misunderstood, insecure, frustrated, and angry.

Perspective is very closely aligned with empathy, but they are different. Empathy is the ability to step into another person’s situation with the intention of understanding how they feel. Sharing a perspective requires you to stand behind the other person, to look out at the world through their eyes, and to see what they are seeing.

It’s like looking through their camera once they set up the shot.

Sharing a perspective does not equate with agreeing, and it doesn’t mean your perspective has to be eliminated. It’s simply an opportunity to step back from what you believe to be true, so you can see something different. Accepting and acknowledging these ideas about perception will shift how you relate in the world, and it will also build an incredible sense of intimacy in your present relationship.

Here are three tips to share another person’s perspective:

  1. It’s all in the language. Avoid saying things like “That’s not true” or “Don’t be ridiculous” when your partner shares their experience. Try saying something like “I can see how you might see it that way, but…” or “I’m having a hard time seeing it the way you do, can you help me understand?”
  2. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to see things. Your experiences and perceptions of things are subjective. You get to have your view, and your partner gets to have theirs. If you feel the need to be right, your next step is to work on letting go of this unrealistic expectation so you can be more open.
  3. Use empathy and compassion to get there. When we are in a heated situation or feel strongly about something we often lose sight of the other person’s perspective. Using your imagination, and seeing that your partner is feeling just like you will allow you to step back, and be more objective.

* * *

picofme2Dr. Andra Brosh is a Clinical Psychologist, writer, and thought leader. Her unique perspectives on life, love and connection stem from her own personal wisdom, and her knowledge of psychology and philosophy. Dr. Brosh’s work is founded on the fundamental truth that we are all wired to be relational beings, and that with the right guidance and tools everyone can find happiness and fulfillment in their interpersonal relationships.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...