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A Guide to Navigating the Tapestry of Family Dynamics

Are you interested in Mastering Communication, Dissolving Conflict, and Cultivating Loving Family Bonds?


In the kaleidoscope of holiday cheer, the intricate threads of unresolved family issues and unmet expectations often surface, leading to conflicts and lingering resentment. Christmas time is notoriously a time where expectations collide with history.  With the compass of love guiding our way, let's embark on a journey in unravelling the complexities, a journey where we will understand human behaviour, how to master genuine communication, dissolve conflict, and nurture true familial connections for this holiday season.


No doubt you have observed family relationships breaking down due to poor communication. What many overlook is the potent tool available, one capable of reducing aggression, defence, arguments and conflict, and transforming a strained relationship into one of respect, appreciation and equity. It is mastering the art of communication and it starts with understanding your values and those of the other party.


Values. So very important. Every human being, regardless of age, gender spectrum, or culture, each and every individual in your family and extended family, moment by moment is living with a set of priorities, a set of values, things that are most to least important in their life. That set of values is completely unique to each individual.


Now this hierarchy of values, ranging from that which is most important to least important, is what is dictating our perceptions of the world because we are actually filtering our reality through that hierarchy. Our highest values determine what we perceive, what we decide to do, and how we act in life, they dictate what we are dedicated to, who we are and ultimately our destiny. Our purpose and mission in life is a reflection of what we value the most. Our identity revolves around our highest value, and it usually who we identify as. We are an expression of our highest values.


If you take the time to look carefully in your family, you will see this in action.

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 goal setting, business and wealth building, while they may just go with the flow and be interested in fitness and travelling. You may be focused on metaphysics and philosophy, while they may be more practical, interested in science and engineering. Whatever's most important to your individual family members, most meaningful, fulfilling and inspiring is what their life is about – just the same with you.


These types of pairs of opposites 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 wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are, and who they are revolves around their highest value. When you’re in a relationship, be it intimate or familial, you want to be respected, loved, and appreciated for what it is that you truly value.


Following from this, everyone will show you love according to their own unique set of values. Read that again. If your father is dedicated to education, he's highly likely to encourage education. He will support you in your education as an expression of his love through his highest value. Your mom may educate and attempt to inspire you on health. Aunty Philomena may encourage you to get married and start a family (guess what her highest value is). Others may want the whole family to get together as often as possible. In contrast, others may be dedicated to their work and not prioritize family gatherings as much as others.


Everyone is also likely to project their values onto you. Some of those values may be more meaningful to you than others, and others may be frustrating if you don’t share the same values they do (rolls eyes at Aunty Philomena).


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 what’s important to you onto them if it’s not important to them), and how do they communicate with you so YOU'RE not resistant and defiant (when what they’re projecting onto you isn’t important to you)?

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.


Identifying your and their unique set of values and highest priorities is crucial in communication. Remember, their life demonstrates their highest values. As such, you may be projecting assumptions that they're living in the same values as yours, which is impossible. If this is the case, you're highly likely to experience feelings of frustration, even sometimes anger and resentment towards them.


You may notice that you tend to have an impulse toward those with similar values and an instinct away from those with different values. How do you navigate a relationship with someone who has a widely different set of values from you?

(Follow this LINK through to Demartini Value Determination Process to help you complete this.)


STEP 2: Take the top three most important priorities and values in THEIR life and the top three most important values in YOUR life, and ask this question: 


"How specifically is what they're dedicated to, what's most important to them, what they're inspired by, what they spontaneously do, what their life revolves around - how is that helping ME fulfil what I AM dedicated to, what's most inspiring to me and what's priority to me?"


If you can't see how what they're dedicated to is serving you, you will likely be proud of your own values (because everyone thinks their values are correct) and self-righteously project your values onto them.  You are likely to have a monologue as you talk down to them and try to get them to change. As a result, they're likely to automatically feel resistant and become defiant, resulting in conflict.


If you can’t see what they are dedicated to is serving you, you are likely to want to change them so you can get what you want due to the inclination to want to surround yourself with individuals who support your values and avoid individuals who challenge them (survival predator/prey dynamic).

As such, in defence, they may begin puffing themselves up and talking down at you, which results in another monologue while they’re speaking and you’re not listening, and you speaking while they don’t listen. This is called an alternating monologue where no one hears what the other person says.


However, when you know what their highest values are and how they serve you and help you fulfil what’s most important to you, you are able to be grateful for them, appreciate them, and feel love for them because you can see how they are supporting you in fulfilling your life. 


That doesn’t mean that they have to have similar values to yours; it just means that whatever they have as higher values, you can see how their highest values help you fulfil yours.


If you can see how what they are dedicated to is serving you, you will experience an amazing shift in your relationship. You will have a different respect for them and be far more likely to think before you speak.


Step 3: Take it a step further and ask this question: 

“How specifically is what I’m dedicated to, my top three highest values, what is most fulfilling and meaningful to me, helping them fulfil their own unique top three values?”


If you are unable to answer this question, you are unlikely to be able to articulate what is important to you in terms of what is important to them, which is when they will listen closely.


Like sales training, where you are taught to communicate with others in their dominant buying motive and according to their needs, all communication is a form of sales. If you don’t consider what you are selling in the buyer’s highest values, if you don’t link what you are selling to their values, you may puff yourself up and speak down to them and try to get them to change and live congruently with your values (buy my vacuum) instead of their own (see how this vacuum will free up your time and allow you to spend more time with your family).


In essence, you are selling what’s important to you in terms of what’s important to them and if you help them get what they want in life, they will tend to feel inspired to give you what you want in life I (I would love more time with my children, they are my highest value, please take my money).

When you can see how what they are doing is serving you and how what you are doing is serving them, a dialogue is created. Cousin Brutus at the Christmas lunch table is not likely to be defiant if you communicate what you would love to say in terms of what he would love to hear.


The more links you create between your highest values and theirs, the more respectful your communication is likely to be, and the higher the probability that you're going to masterfully communicate what you want to say in terms of what they want to fulfil.


Now, you may perceive this process to be quite time-consuming, however, if you don't learn this art of communicating in people's values, the resulting frustration, aggravation, conflict, dissipation of energy, and noise in the brain is going to be way more costly in time than the time it takes you to make these links.


Step 4: “What specific trait action or inaction do I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating that I admire most or despise most?” 


If you want to have a close relationship with people it is wise to realise that you will likely block your communication if you are denying anything you're too proud or too humble to admit that you see in them is also inside of you. Reflective awareness is the key to intimacy.


If you are looking down at them and they're doing something you're too proud to admit you're doing, you'll tend to talk down to them. Conversely, if you're admiring them and looking up at them and minimising yourself as a result, you'll tend to talk up to them.


Anytime you're too proud or too humble to admit what you see in others inside you, you've lost your intimacy, you've lost reflection, you've gone into deflection, and you're likely to begin miscommunicating. Why? Because you don't have an equitable and sustainable fair exchange being demonstrated.


An intimate relationship is when you are not looking down on someone and being too proud to admit what you see in them is inside you; nor are you looking up to someone and being too humble to admit what you see in them is inside you. Instead, you’re looking across at them and realising that what you see in them is inside you.


If you admire them and put them on a pedestal, you will minimise yourself in relation to them. Similarly, if you despise them, you’ll tend to be too proud to admit it and exaggerate yourself in relation to them. Both of those make it difficult for fair communication to take place.


It is wise to take the time to identify the traits that you admire and despise. Then you look within yourself and identify where and when you display or demonstrate those same behaviours in your own way and value systems.

When you identify it, you level the playing field by realising that they don’t do anything that you don’t also do. As such, it calms down the judgment and increases the dialogue.


This reflective awareness and seeing their actions, or inactions as on the way, wakes up a deep appreciation and gratitude for the individual as they are, where you’re not trying to change them or yourself and this is when relationships thrive.


Anytime you inflate yourself above other individuals and project your values onto them, you will tend to experience their resistance. Anytime you deflate yourself below them and sacrifice what's valuable to you to be with them, you're also likely to experience resistance but from within yourself. You're likely to have miscommunication or alternating dialogues more than a dialogue until you have an equal playing field.


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 careful 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.


Most of the chaos in relationships stems from an assumption that other individuals are supposed to see the world through your eyes. That's not going to happen. One of the most unrealistic expectations you'll ever have is to expect somebody to live in your values, or for you to live in theirs. It's not going to work. The more you or they expect that, the more It just creates perceptions of resistance.


It is wise for you to learn to master the art of true communication so you can meet in the middle as equals where neither side is trying to project their values onto the other.


When you take the time to ask and answer the above questions, the respect level goes up because you can see that no matter what it is, whether it’s supportive or challenging, it is serving you.


Once you can see how what they’re dedicated to is serving you, you create a space for true dialogue and a more respectful and intimate relationship to occur and you've mastered the art of communication.


If you would love me to help and guide you through the process of identifying your highest values, or in using the Demartini Method to help neutralise any emotional baggage you may have then please contact me here

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