What is Empowered Communication?
Learning to communicate is a lifelong process, which is why at Medusa, we love to offer guidance in what we call empowered communication. There are seemingly infinite books, courses, podcasts, articles, classes, and university majors devoted to the art and practice of communication.
We all know that communication is important to have healthy relationships and that having healthy relationships is a crucial aspect in our overall well being and our general flourishing as human beings.
We need to communicate. And we often get it wrong. We often misunderstand each other. Sometimes we hurt each other unintentionally just by bungling our communication. Other times our emotions become intense or our past traumas trigger us so much that we lose the capacity to communicate effectively.
Practice Communicating From an Empowered Heart
How do we practice and master empowered communication? There are many tools we can learn and practices we can incorporate into our conversations to become better communicators.
Practicing makes us better at anything we do. But the most important aspect of being a good communicator is cultivating our sense of self-awareness. Every learning experience is a dynamic process: we receive information and guidance externally and then we go inward to learn more about ourselves and apply it. It’s a process of aligning our heart, body and mind. Empowered hearts and open minds lead to empowered communication.
Being an empowered communicator is not just knowing the techniques, it also means deepening the relationship with yourself to know when and how to use them appropriately.
Different contexts and situations require different types of communication from us. Sometimes we need to be firm and assertive, and other times we need to let our compassion guide us.
Empowered communication is a combination of using assertive techniques, setting boundaries, consent, listening, feeling and expressing emotions, asking questions, and cultivating empathy.
A lot of this comes from a needs-based approach, through evaluating our needs and those of the people we communicate with.
We use empathy in intentional ways to connect with and understand one another, and still hold clear and firm boundaries to establish and honor our own needs.
What’s the Buzz About Boundaries Anyway?
Even just a few years ago, no one was talking much about boundaries. Now we hear about them so much that it’s almost becoming a new buzzword. And even to the point where some people are weaponizing boundaries and using them to manipulate others.
To be clear, setting a boundary is NOT about anyone else’s behavior. We don’t set them to teach someone else a lesson or control their actions. It is about our own safety, comfort, or needs.
While boundaries can be firm, that doesn’t mean they can’t change as we evolve and grow. In fact, having boundaries is about understanding our own needs in each moment. It is important to continually check in with our needs to know where our boundaries are.
We set boundaries to honor our emotional space, mental capacity, to protect our body, our nervous system, and our energetic resources. Boundaries are self-care and self-love and can even be self-defense. Understanding where our boundaries lie allows us to be clear with ourselves and within our relationships and helps us avoid feeling resentment later.
Some questions to start with when it comes to boundaries:
What are your needs? In general and at this moment?
How can you support the needs of others while honoring your own?
Where do you feel different emotions in your body?
When have you noticed a need to tighten a boundary?
When have you felt safe enough to be able to loosen a boundary?
Can you feel empathy for others and compassion for yourself at the same time?
What do you want from a conversation? What does the other person want? Is there consent?
Some practical tips for more empowered communication:
Say no without guilt or fear.
Say YES when it feels GOOD!
Listen to your body. Listen to others with your whole body. Notice your breath.
Feel your emotions in your body, label or define them without judgment, express them in healthy ways.
Practice empathy and maintain clear boundaries.
Ask for consent. (eg: do you have time/space to listen to me right now? Can I share something I’m struggling with? Can I vent for a minute?)
Empowered Communication Workshops
For instance at Medusa, in an Empowered Communication Workshop, we discuss the what, why, and how of being an empowered communicator, and how this comes from having an empowered heart. It is learning about ourselves, our needs, triggers and our emotional experience, so that we may communicate effectively across all contexts. It is about prioritizing our own needs while remaining sensitive and empathetic to the needs of others, and having tools to manage conflict when our needs are out of alignment with the people we care about. These practices enable us to move forward with empowered bodies, empowered hearts, and empowered voices.
These are some of the basic foundations and tools for communicating from a more empowered place. In our workshops, we break these ideas down and put them into practice with fun, engaging real life scenarios. We offer workshops in a variety of settings, from university to corporate to self-defense classes.
We also offer more customizable packages of communication coaching. This can be one-on-one or intimate group settings.
Stay tuned for a deeper dive into each one of these practices to continue improving as an empowered communicator with an empowered heart.
Get in touch with Amy to book your virtual or in-person workshop or learn more about individualized communication coaching.