Language and Connection

Language and Connection

Language and connection are direcly related. “Words are windows or they’re walls” said, the developer of Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg PhD

Have you noticed words can land like a physical blow, a sharp jab or a gentle touch? I bet you’ve been on both sides of this.

Words come directly from how we think and perceive ourselves and others. If you want to change up your relationship happiness, it’s not just about learning new techniques and choosing better words though. Nope. Much more exciting and life-changing than that. 

You can’t just change the words you use and get change. Say whatever words you like but if your energy is still demanding or critical, that’s what the other will ‘hear’. Energy is louder than any words. 

Critical, irritable thoughts and feelings do come up, so it’s this vital to be able to transform this energy. How to change this so your language and connection are likely to work in favour of your relationship?

How language and connection begin

For starters, you’re born without words. Way before you have verbal language your autonomic nervous system starts forming. This is the interface through which you relate and experience life and that includes love and connection. 

Language then starts to form verbally and you form perceptions of yourself, the world and others. Basic images like “I’m lovable/ not lovable” or “I’m good/ bad” or a variation of these comes up. Replace the I’m with “Others are …”  This crystalises around 3 – 6 years of age. 

What can I do?

Hang on don’t throw in the towel! You’re not stuck there. Right now you might be focusing on your capacity to relate. Yes? You can work from both ends of the spectrum. From the verbal and the pre-verbal. There are ways to meet the sensations, feelings, and pre-verbal through your physical gestures. You’ve got a million tiny clues to work with. 

How your words are windows or walls

Today, I’m focusing on the other end of the spectrum – verbal language. As Marshall Rosenberg would say, “words are windows or they’re walls”. He’s pointing to the fact language and connection are linked. That you can say something using words in such a way that it opens up the possibilities for connection, deeper understanding and seeing of each other. Or your words can block understanding and connection.

We unpack how to create windows rather than walls in Connection Essentials For Love. 

There are four things you can do with your perceptions/ words/ energy create walls. 

Demand, denial of responsibility, deserve and diagnosis. 

These are called the Four D’s by Marshall Rosenberg. In Connection Essentials you discover how to come from a powerful place of willingness. Able to say and hear yes or no, and to be in a place of freedom AND connection with each other.

  • Demands become requests
  • Denial of responsibility becomes radical responsibility.
  • Deserve becomes desire
  • Diagnosis becomes honesty and empathy  

Why how you speak to yourself matters

How you relate with your partner’s emotions, points to how you relate to your own emotions. That’s worth reading again.  

If your language and connection is critical and blamey of your partner, you’re likely critical and judgy of yourself. That’s where your new possibilities lie. Similarly if you tend to withdraw and block off your partner’s emotions, you likely do that with your own emotions. Addressing this within yourself, will help you and your relationship greatly.

There’s so much to learn and gain through developing and exploring love and relationship! I’m a fan of it as a growth path. 

Pointers from above:

  • Do what it takes to heal and care for your nervous system – mental, emotional wellbeing supports you to bring your best communication.
  • What you say matters. HOW you say, what you say, matters massively.
  • Avoid doing the 4 D’s (see above)
  • Learn to compassionately transform your scratchy thoughts, feelings and perceptions, so you create windows not walls with your words

Reach out for help or resources, I have many. To send me a note click here


Mukti Jarvis Emotionally Focused Therapist