Dr. Chapman is wanting us to change.
He wants us to learn our own love language preferences.
One more time:
find out your love language at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/.
He wants us to learn to speak the love language of others, people we care for, people we love.
Why is this so hard?
A habit is a routine that has occurred so often that it is an unconscious, repeated behavior or response. Habits become unnoticed in our behavior because we do not self-analyze much. Habits can be efficient but they can also be horrible if the habits are damaging. What happens psychologically is that we have neural pathways that form in our brains and we make those stronger with repeated thoughts and actions. Why are habits hard to break? It takes hard work.
Let’s say you want to change your communication habits.
Today I am going to write about the stages one goes through to learn a new communication skill.
Let’s be real. The first thing I hear from people when they are trying a new skill is “I feel strange.” Why is this the most normal response? Because you are disrupting your neural pathways [that’s the technical answer]. The less technical answer is you are doing something new and you are very self-aware. Your new behavior may be better but the fact that it seems strange makes it seem not so great in the beginning. What would be easier? Your old habits. You can easily revert back to them and the strangeness will go away but your communication will not improve. This first stage is called beginning awareness.
Let’s say you are sticking with your efforts. What’s next? You are performing the behavior but you are awkward at it. You lack grace. Here’s a behavior example that is not communication related but you will get the point. About two months ago, I bought a new bike. It was a form of exercise I thought I would try in the warm months of the year. Of course, I have been a bike rider before so the basics of riding were in place. This bike was different. It had a high seat so I can get full leg extension as I peddle it. There is no kick stand. So what do you have to do? Get off the seat when you come to a stop. The owner of the bike store is a friend so he graciously went with me on a ride as I began to use the bike. He explained how you have to hit the brakes and slide off the seat at the same time. I am much better at this after two months but believe me, I was very awkward at this skill on that inaugural ride and the next 3 or 4 rides. It’s the same with a new communication skill. We want to be smooth but we are not. People who study learning new communication skills say “you have to be willing to look bad in order to get good.” At this stage called awkwardness, frustration can set in easily and again, you revert to your old habits and the awkwardness goes away.
Everything improves in the third stage. You feel you are developing a new skill. You have to think about what you are doing but you are able to do it. You are less awkward but this is caused by thinking and planning. You don’t just automatically do a new behavior, you work through it and perform it. That’s a good way to think about this skillfulness stage. To others it may look like you are doing something naturally but you know you are not. You are thinking your way through your new behavior. Really this stage could be renamed the “consciously skilled” stage.
Time passes. You repeat your new behavior several times. You have good results. Your confidence builds. You get good feedback from others. Guess what happens? Your behavior slowly becomes more automatic. Integrated is a good way to describe what is happening. The new behavior is becoming natural to you. This integration stage is what you want. You want to add a new behavior to your repertoire.
If you are trying to speak a new love language, now you know what you face. Competence does not come overnight. It is a long haul. It is a commitment on your part.
But what is the payoff?
Better relationships with the ones you love. A better relationship with God.
Let’s get started!