Communication 101

Our communication skills are our greatest gift, talent and responsibility. They offer key first impressions and hold a lasting impact.
What we say and how we say it becomes representative of who we are, as our character, qualities and flaws display themselves in
verbal exchange. A few minutes of conversation are usually enough for us to be assessed, stereotyped and cataloged. If our impression
is lacking, the listener will be more inclined to tune us out and have little regard for any further conversation.

Many people believe that communicating as the speaker gives us status and control, when in fact, it is the listener who is empowered.
While talking, we are involved in self and our own concepts and images. That limits our vision and scope of learning. The listener gains
insight, important information and valuable clues as the one talking provokes thoughts and ideas.

No matter our position, communication comes with responsibilities and holds great power. Being courteous and conscientious as the
listener and speaker is important to successful communication in every aspect of life. We have all experienced the frustration of being
interrupted while trying to convey our thoughts. Monopolizing the conversation does not afford us any rank or power. That type of
demonstrative demand for attention merely serves to present a poor image and discourage a desire for further communication.
Conversations are meant to be a dialogue rather than a monologue.

There is no cure for the common word. Once spoken, they are imprinted in an indelible substance on our ‘Who’s who’ card. Words
are commanding tools and can become powerful weapons. They cannot be retracted or erased, and if used inappropriately can damage
the speakers credibility or wound and scar a listener. Presentation then becomes the critical aspect of communication. How we say,
what we say is the key to positive, productive and successful results. Our words should create interest, encourage enthusiasm, stimulate
or motivate. They should promote a call to action rather than provoke a reaction. Carefully choosing the words that best express our
thoughts will offer a positive flow and end result.

Our ability to communicate well is our greatest asset. It is vital in conveying our wants and needs and when used wisely and
appropriately,it is the key to success in any venue. A lack of regard or misuse can create a gross liability. It is to our benefit to keep
our skills fine-tuned and functioning well so that we do not leave behind a negative impression or worse, warrant a loss of respect
and trust.

Following a few simple procedures can make the difference in our communication success.

1- Listen with intent and curiosity
2- Listen from a neutral place without walls and blockers, which will distort the incoming information
3- Ask questions for clarity
4- Be courteous and conscientious in your communications
5- Show support and understanding by relaying to the speaker that he is being heard and his concerns, fears and needs are valid
6- Use the power that comes with your skills wisely and fairly
7- Never close doors or avenues of opportunity and compromise

How Well Do You Really Know You?

Knowing you and having a healthy, well-balanced relationship with the inner self is a vital first step in seeking a partner and in being
a partner in a relationship. The journey into the inner depths of you is needed to become aware of your true requirements, needs,
wants and desires. Describing yourself in an online dating profile will warrant a thorough self-assessment. It is your responsibility,
as a potential partner, to know your assets and any liabilities you may present. You should have a clear vision of your future and be
aware of your potential contributions. Getting to know you and being comfortable with what you find, makes you a valuable asset in
every aspect of life. Being in touch with your truths and realities will allow you to clearly state yourself in your profile. It will help avoid
misunderstandings, misinterpretations and better insure responses from those most closely suited to you.

Below are just a few of the questions relevant to self-awareness. There are many other avenues to explore and much more to discover
about you. Having this information will help promote a more satisfying, rewarding future and provide for successful relationship
ventures. Know the facts before you begin your search for a compatible partner. Set limits and boundaries before you get started.
Have the courage and conviction to say 'No'. The confidence that comes with your efforts will be life altering. It will ease the annoyances
that can accompany the online dating process and will simplify the sorting procedure. Knowledge is power and creates success

1-Who are you?
A-Is the person you present to others the real you or merely a façade? How much of you is hidden behind a mask?
Are you afraid to be the real you?
B-Are you content with your life and relationships? Do you envision yourself living a different life?
C-What makes you happy? Are there things you really want but feel you cannot have? Why? Can you change it? How?
D-What benefits can you offer a partner? Do you have baggage and come with burdens you would expect your partner to carry?
Would you be a liability?

2-What is it you want from life and your relationships?
A-What do the visions of your future hold? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
B-Are there barriers or inhibitions that prevent you from being where you want to be? Are you held captive by your past?
Is there a plan in place to correct that?
C-What changes do you need in your life? How would you make it happen?
D- Is there a design of your ideal partner? What important qualities would he/she possess? Are your dreams and expectations
based in reality?

3-Are you aware of your requirements and needs?
A-Requirements and needs are very different. Can you clearly define each? What do you require and need to be happy,
healthy and content?
B-Are you able to easily and openly express your requirements, needs, wants and desires to others?
C-Have you set your limits and boundaries? Do you know the things, which are flexible and those, which are not?
D- Can you clearly state your position with regard to solvable and unsolvable issues? Would you bend to the will of outside
influences in that regard or
be firm concerning your requirements?

4- Are you emotionally and spiritually healthy?
A-Are you emotionally self-sufficient? Do you depend on the voice of others in making decisions regarding your life and in
choosing your path?
B-Do you have leftover issues from your childhood or past relationships that affect how you perform or react to situations
in your life today?
C-Do you need the approval of others for your feelings? When considering your life and relationships, do your feel sad or
have regrets?
D-Are you able to express you emotions and feelings?
E-Are you aware of your spirituality? Are you comfortable with your spiritual essence?

5-Other important issues
A-Do family and friends alter the dreams and expectations in your life and relationships? Would you allow your partner
those same privileges?
Could you take that power back?
B-Have you made the right career choices or is there something more for you?
C-Do you find yourself settling for things in your life to avoid having nothing?
D-What is your idea of a healthy relationship?

These are but a few of the questions to ask yourself.  The answers should come from within and without the consideration
of any outside influences. They should be honest and based on your own values, requirements and lifestyle. Start by asking
yourself the important questions, such as what you are passionate about. What really matters and if things aren’t right, why
aren't you changing it?  Start looking at what you are aiming for. Look at your life from a point of what you want to achieve,
rather than limiting yourself to what you think you are capable of achieving. The reality is that you can do it. The question is,
do you really want to?  If a question should provoke thought of another, take the time to make note of it or deal with it so
it is not forgotten. Questioning is how we discover the truth.

Is Marriage the Right Choice for You?

Our world has come a long way from its early traditions. Both male and female roles are evolving and the male/female
dynamic is vastly different from what it was 10 years ago. Women are becoming more assertive in their quest to find
happiness and are no longer settling for the standards set for them by Patriarchal rule. Men are not as eager to enter into
a lifelong contract, which restricts their growth and potential or offer themselves up as the 'sacrificial lamb' in the namesake
of tradition.

The 'old traditions’ or societal dictates suggest that we, as women have one goal in life and that is to find a man to marry
and spend our lives dedicated to his happiness. Men are the designated 'bread winner', the head of the family and are expected
to find a wife, procreate and carry the burden of offering their wives and children the 'ideal' life'. Aside from marriage being a tradition,
which has been passed down from generation to generation, a symbolic ritual of ownership and a way to deal with taxes, what
purpose does it really serve? Does it hold a place in today's world? Is it really necessary?

Some would quote religious precepts and argue they are bound by the church to marry if their desire is to share life and raise a family.
However, there are no 'marriages' mentioned in early times. The Christian bible makes no note of any 'marriage' ceremony. Adam
'took' Lilith and Eve as his wives without the benefit of rings and bridesmaids and 'divorced' Lilith without court papers or other formal
rituals. So where did marriages come from?  Who made the rule that marriage is necessary to solidify a relationship that we 'hope' will
last forever? Is it still needed to prove legitimacy of family? Does the paper contract enhance the relationship or does it merely serve to
inhibit and enslave its participants?

The fact is that the ‘institution’ of marriage is approximately 4,500 years old. Originally, its primary purpose was to bind women
to men as property and guarantee family legitimacy. Hidden within the hypnotic veil of romance, those reasons still exist. However,
some countries have begun to disallow marriage in the name of human rights. Those actions make a premier statement and reflect
the reality of the marriage contract.

The idea of marriage, as we know it today, is romantic ideology. In today’s society, this legal rite of ownership is alleged to be
based in love rather than property registration. Marriage is not meant to enslave its participants, but is a promise to share life in love.
However, when asked why marriage is so important, the majority answer that it’s because they want their partner to change the
words to sound appropriate for the times. It is ownership covered in fancy wrappings.     

Weddings have changed to keep up with the times. We now have more elaborate ceremonies. The bride and groom have the thrill
of dressing up in fantasy-like fashion and going through the formal ritual of giving themselves to the one, they love. The fan fair is dreamy,
but is it really necessary? Will the love shared diminish without the ceremonial presentation? Does it prevent cheating? Can marriage
truly guarantee legitimacy of family? Is legal registration, proof of ownership required for longevity? What purpose does marriage
really serve?  

The rate of divorce is currently over 50% and rising. Those high percentages indicate that more than half of those, who choose the
marriage option, have figured out that they made a mistake. Marriage was clearly not the appropriate choice for them. More than
half of the number of divorces and relationship failures are due to sexual incompatibility and cheating. Is it worth the effort, cost and
emotional drama and pain to marry and risk divorce?  Can we promote it given the evidence of the limited benefits? Is it yet another
outdated decree, which needs revision or dismissal?

While we have made great strides in our struggle to lose the hindrances of marriage and recognize the value of human rights, we are
still weighed down by ancient Patriarchal rule. Unfortunately, the right to marry was not given to all people of the world.  Same sex
marriages have been forbidden in many states in our country and in many countries worldwide.  However, marrying someone of the
same sex was not always outlawed and is once again found legal worldwide. It is not a new concept, our programming and view have
been altered, and laws put in place to inhibit the practice. Same sex marriages actually date back many centuries. The first recorded
homosexual marriage was that of Nero, who openly married at least two men in his lifetime and was rumored to have married more in
secret. The forbidden was once acceptable. Over time, our society has been committed to turning it ugly and shameful.  

The number of those who have chosen to co-habitate rather than marry is growing daily and worldwide. Maybe in subtle fashion
we are moving towards a better alternative. Outdated religious dogma may be on its way out. People are considering their options
and choosing personal preference and individual need rather than abiding by the rules made to govern the masses.

Is marriage the right choice for you? Will the legal contract hold any value, does it positively come with guarantees of bliss and
contentment? Would our partner leave without the contract in place? It would be time to consider your choice if that is an option.
Take away the glamor and glitter of the ceremony, the hopes and dreams for the fairy tale future and you are left with the realities.
Marriage is simply an age old tradition that gives your partner a right of ownership with lots of bells and whistles to mask the deed of title.
Welcome to The Library

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Judy Spain Barton
Author * Life Coach
Judy Spain Barton
Author * Life Coach