In all probability, you’ve perceived many types of challenges, conflict, defiance and a difference of opinion with family members in your family life. While you may perceive it to be frustrating and challenging at times, I am certain that it also helps you grow.
That said, there are certain tools you can implement if you would love to reduce defiance and conflict with one or many of your family members by mastering the art of communication.
The Value of Values in a Family
You may have a brother or sister who is quite different from you and has a vastly different set of values than you. You may be dedicated to organisation, structure and goal setting, while they may just go with the flow. You may be focused on metaphysics and philosophy, while they may be more practical, and interested in science and engineering. Differences like these are incredibly common in families, which can result in challenges when communicating. What you may think is important is something they are not interested in, and vice versa.
Everyone has a unique set of values and priorities. Whatever is highest on their values and priorities is what they’re dedicated to.
- Their identity revolves around it.
- Their purpose is an expression of what’s highest on their values.
- This is what they want to learn the most.
- This is how they filter their reality.
Whatever’s most important to them, most meaningful to them, and most fulfilling and inspiring is what their life is about – the same with you, your siblings, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, etc.
Everyone Will Show You Love According to Their Own Unique Set of Values
If your father is dedicated to education, he’s highly likely to encourage education. Your mum may educate and attempt to inspire you on health. Someone else may encourage you to get married and start a family. Others may want the whole family to get together as often as possible. In contrast, others may be dedicated to their work and not prioritise family gatherings as much as others.
Everyone is Also Likely to Project Their Values Onto You
Some of those values may be more meaningful than others, and others may be frustrating. So, what is the wisest way to communicate with them so they’re not resistant and defiant (which they are likely to be if you’re projecting), and how do they communicate with you so you’re not resistant and defiant to them? What is the wisest way to meet in the middle as equals?
Step 1: Identify Your Top Three Highest Values and Those of Your Family Members
If you’ve never taken the time to do that, you are not likely to fully know them. If you don’t know what they’re dedicated to, what’s most inspiring to them, and what they’re most fulfilled by, you’re unlikely to know what their life’s really about.
As such, you may be projecting assumptions that they’re living in the same values as yours, which is impossible. Identifying both your and their unique set of values and their priorities is a crucial step in communication.
Step 2: Compare Your Values and Ask Yourself:
“How is the most important thing to them helping ME fulfil what I’M dedicated to and inspired by?”.
If you can’t see how what they’re dedicated to is serving you, you’re likely to self-righteously project your values onto them. As a result, they’re likely to automatically feel resistant and become defiant, resulting in conflict.
- Anytime you inflate yourself above other individuals and project your values onto them, you’ll likely experience their resistance.
- Anytime you deflate yourself below them and sacrifice what’s valuable to you to be with them, you’ll likely experience resistance from within.
- If you look down on them and think your values are more important than theirs, you’re likely to be careless.
- If you’re looking up at them, you’re likely to be cautious and walk on eggshells.
- When you perceive that you are equal to them, you are most likely to have a caring dialogue.
Caring Communication Reduces Much of the Conflict and Defiance in Relationships and Makes Them More Sustainable.
An individual is not likely to be defiant if you communicate what you would love to say in terms of what they would love to hear. If it’s helping them fulfil what they value most, they’re more likely to turn around and help you fulfil what you value most.
I am certain that most conflict amongst families is based on these perceived inequalities. If you think that your values are superior and expect others to live in those values, it can create resistant chaos. Most of the chaos in relationships stems from assumptions that others see the world through our eyes.
It is therefore wise to take the time to find out what your and their top three values are and ask:
How is their top value helping you fulfil yours?
How is their second value helping you fulfil yours?
How is their third value helping you fulfil yours?
How do your top three values help them fulfil theirs?
If you can see how what they’re dedicated to is serving you, you’ll experience an amazing shift in your relationship. You’ll have a different respect for them and be far more likely to think before you speak. The more links you create between everyone’s highest values, the more respectful and effective your communication will be.
When you see other individuals as your equals, you’ll be less likely to emotionally react because you are operating more out of the executive centre of your forebrain than your subcortical amygdala. When you communicate from your amygdala, you are more likely to miscommunicate, include gestures, and go into anger and aggression – the lowest level of communication.
- Nobody has the same hierarchy of values as you.
- Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are, and who they are revolves around what they value most.
- If you can’t see how what they truly value is helping you fulfil what you truly value, you’re likely to want to change them.
- Individuals don’t want to be changed. They want to be loved and appreciated for who they are.
- Communicating in terms of an individual’s highest values is a gold mine. It will change the relationships you have with the people you care about.
- There’s no reason for unnecessary family conflict when you have the tools to master communication to dissolve it.
- The amount of energy it takes to master this skill is insignificant compared to the amount of energy you’ll likely spend in all those conflicts throughout your life.