Your Mental and Emotional Warrant-of-Fitness #4

A Warrant-of-Fitness is the New Zealand equivalent of an M.O.T. in the UK, being a certificate to say your vehicle is road worthy.

Building Blocks of a Healthy Relationship

  1. Communication
  2. Boundaries
  3. Trust
  4. Respect

I’ve talked a lot about boundaries in previous posts. But did you know that healthy boundaries are only 1 of the building blocks for healthy relating? Communication of those boundaries in a respectful way is essential, after all, people are not usually mind readers. But how often have you been offended or hurt in some way because a boundary was violated yet you didn’t articulate it in the first place?! I know I have. At times we may not realise a boundary needed to be in place until someone has crossed it.

Communication is A LOT more than just the words we speak or type. Communication is made up of 3 components, each giving important information. These are:

  1. The words you speak/type/text
  2. Body language
  3. Tone of voice

Obviously, even with emojis, texting lacks the two latter components, which is why texting is fraught with misunderstandings! If something is really important, don’t risk ‘discussing’ it over text and risking ruining a relationship! (I have known this to happen.)

These stats may surprise you but research reports:

Body language = 55% of communication

Tone of voice = 38%

Words you speak or type = 7%

Imagine a pie…body language is the biggest slice!

What IS body language?

Body language can be a smile, your posture, facial expressions and much more. All of which cannot be received via text. I’ve had clients tell me that growing up, a ‘look’ from their father conveyed so much…..disapproval or anger, for example, and often “the look” was terrifying in itself and enough to get them to comply!

How often do you or others you meet, when asked the question, “How are you?”, reply, “I am fine”?, when really we/they are not. How can you tell if they really ARE “fine”? Their body language and tone of voice sometimes contradicts their words.

So, to get your message across clearly, use all 3 parts of communication, when all 3 are matching there is less room for misinterpreting or misunderstanding.

Effective, clear, non-threatening and healthy communication is a HUGE topic in itself. NVC, (non-violent communication) is a therapeutic modality that teaches people how to communicate in ways that do not violate the other person. I recommend you check it out.

One simple skill to learn is to use “I” statements about how YOU feel rather than blaming the other person, which will invariably evoke a defended response as the other will feel under attack.

Sarah’s in a relationship that has turned bad and she wonders how things seem to always end up like this in her relationships. Sam had started to use put downs and sulked when he didn’t get what he wanted (sex usually). This caused Sarah to get upset and, naturally, not want to have sex (let’s face it, who would after being put down?) After practicing some techniques with her therapist she decided to try a different approach with her partner. “I felt hurt when you called me lazy tonight (a judgement), I’m tired, and it causes me to withdraw from you.”, (the exact opposite of what they both want). She is just stating facts here without blame. Of course, name calling and undermining another is never ok. But in the above example, Sarah talks calmly of the event and the natural consequences of it, she doesn’t want sex. This type of communication may just help Sam join the dots and avoids a blame game where no-one wins.

Of course healthy communication that supports both parties in the relationship is not well taught and may take some conscious effort to practice. But both parties, partners, people in any type of relationship, have needs and feelings. Using “I” statements is just one tool to pull out of your communication tool-box.

Violence of any kind, verbal. physical, mental, emotional, sexual or financial is NEVER OK. Please, if you are experiencing any of these, or feel unsafe, or are in a relationship where manipulation, power and control, intimidation and other coercive tactics are being used, seek professional help. You don’t have to live in fear.

Just a few thoughts that may help.

©Karen Lighthouse 2022


Thanks for reading and take care until next time.

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Words by Karen Lighthouse.

I also offer –

  • One-on-one counselling/coaching via Zoom
  • Group facilitation
  • Mental health education
  • Oracle card readings

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5 thoughts on “Your Mental and Emotional Warrant-of-Fitness #4

  1. Great post. I think communication is something I have been working on and am continuing to work on a lot. As someone who was never able to set firm boundaries, communication can be tough for me.


    1. Hi Pooja. Thanks for your openness. Boundaries and authentic communication can be really hard especially if they weren’t modelled to us in childhood or for some, not allowed or abused. Good on you for continuing to learn and grow, the quality of your relationships will benefit from the effort you put in to upskill. Soooo worthwhile! 👍🌹🙏

      Liked by 1 person

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