Are you the TO or AT?

Ink on gel printed paper – words: Oscar Wilde

Our lives are made richer through relationships. Good ones, bad ones, strained ones, ones we want and the ones we hope to have in the future. All things being equal, it is the conversations we have with people and what we share through words that cement or prevent our relationships from staying alive. That gives our conversations a great deal of power in our lives.

There is an art to conversation. It is a skill one can build and must build if we want our relationships to thrive. Which means we have to think about word choices, delivery method (texting, email, in person, online) and we have to invest the time it takes to make our words reflect how much the people in our lives mean to us. Not everyone in our lives gets this. They talk to us or AT us and have no idea the painful things their words bring into our lives. They may not know that their silence is deafening and tells us we are not important. Or their unkind word choices leave scars as echoes in our mind that keep playing over and over again. The unkind, unfeeling, negative messages that follow us through the years reminding us that we are not worthy of their love and attention. These are the conversations that haunt us and drag us back into thoughts of worthlessness, unkindness and makes us feel less than.

There are those in our lives that bring us joy, simply because they care enough to listen and talk TO us not at us. They lift us up, genuinely want to know our thoughts and dreams in order to support us. They fill our heads with words of encouragement, kindness, genuine love and affection AND make us feel better each and every time we talk to them. Our conversations with them are about our hopes, dreams, challenges and we are safe to share enough to reveal our true selves. These are the people we love and adore, want to spend our lives knowing and growing with as they make us better each time we interact with them. Their voice is the one we want in our head reminding us that we are worthy, wonderful, important AND capable of more than we can imagine. These are the conversations that make us better than we thought was possible.

So which one are you, the TO conversationalist or the AT talker? Want to really find out, listen to how people react to your words. Do they tell you more things about themselves, share their hopes and dreams and value your opinions? Or do they simply mirror the mundane, trivial comments you deliver? If you want your relationships to get better, learn how to listen and converse with people about what THEY want to talk about not just what you want to say. Our lives are a direct reflection of the value we place in our conversations with those we know and live. Want better relationships, become a better conversationalist…which means listen and be positive.

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