Today a more tactical strategy for averting a complete breakdown in communication: The power of the sentence “What is it that you’re saying to me that you feel that I’m not hearing.”   Right now I’m in one of the most incredible relationships that I’ve had in my life and regardless of how “aware” or “communicative” I think I am, at the end of the day there are moments in time where I find myself in a conversation that ends up in total breakdown.     The Pink Elephant Promise is great, it really has allowed for a momentary pause and a commitment to find a resolution much faster than I’ve ever experienced in my life.  However even in the conversation that ensues, I find that my triggers get activated sometimes with out knowing that they are being triggered.    I’ve actually found myself in some conversations where I can actually see myself uncontrollably going down a path of destruction.   Its as if I’m watching myself about to jump off a cliff and the other me is saying “Noooooooooooooooooo!  Dont do it, don’t say it!”  While I’ve been getting better and can sometimes stop and pause, there are other times when its too late, and I find myself right in the heart of an old pattern of communication reminiscent of a frustrated teenager living at home.   I can actually watch myself growing more and more frustrated, my voice getting louder, and I’m starting to talk faster.  Its like a snowball running down the hill gaining velocity with each word coming out of my mouth.  And with each word, the intended outcome and resolution drifts farther and farther into the distant future.    We both walk away shut down, frustrated, and a bit passive aggressive.
Time to pull out that Pink Elephant and try again!  
After watching this pattern in myself over and over again I can say I’ve made some progress.  I understand where the pattern has originated, I’ve communicated the triggers that seem to set me off, and I’ve also learned how to clean up my own side of the street and take responsiblity for the mess I’ve created, but that gets old after awhile.
At the core of this pattern is a desire to be heard and understood and I think that its nothing more than a fundamental human trigger that can get the better of us at times.    There are many versions of the pattern and what’s most crazy is that we do this to the people that we love and love us the most.
In our commitment to communicate in one of our Pink Elephant conversations it became clear that when either of us is getting frustrated it typically comes from a desire to be heard and understood that is apparently not being fulfilled.
Since then we’ve both agreed that in the event that either of us see the other starting to get frustrated we’ve agreed to simply pause and ask the other  
“What is it that you’re saying to me that you feel that I’m not hearing?”    
What we have found is that such such simple words said with love can tame the the wildest beast with in us.
What do you do in those situations?   Would love to hear from you!
From the heart!
Shasheen
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