News from Jude Bijou and Attitude Reconstruction™


More Joy, Love, and Peace in 2014 please!

Attitiude Reconstruction  

March2014                                                      Communication
                                                                   Jamala Beach CA
Barriers to Effective Communication
Resolving Differences
The Three Bridges
Jude Bijou
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Jude Bijou MA MFT is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and workshop leader. Her multi award- winning book is a practical and spiritual handbook to help you create the life you desire.  

Attitude Reconstruction

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   The Power of Emoting

I went down to my car in the garage. For thirty minutes I shook the steering wheel and pounded the seat next to me and screamed and shouted inarticulate sounds of ehhh, ahhh, ohhhh. I gradually worked up to full volume. I didn't do this continually. I did about ten shakes on the wheel with shouts and ten pounds on the seat with shouts. Then a pause. Then repeat. I felt exhausted and empty afterwards. Unwound. Spent. Later, I went to the store and got our reward.


Today I don't burn inside or feel knotted and tied up.

-- Ken

Greetings Friends!


       This month's newsletter is about communication -- the key to rewarding relationships. It's easy to slip into less than stellar habits, especially when emotions are part of the equation.  It's also easy to make significant changes that will profoundly change your life.

        I've included a lot of frequently asked questions about communication, an article about how to resolve differences, and information on the three bridges, which will help you out in emotional moments. I'm sure you'll find a few helpful tidbit.


         Did you know that the population of the United States has more than doubled since 1950? It's no wonder we're having growing pains. This is a really good reason we each need to take some personal responsibility and communicate better.


2012   population:  313,914,040         1950  population 152,271,417



        Just to remind you to laugh as you try to acquire some new communication skills, I've included two short hilarious videos of "Everyone Loves Raymond" Ray learning and practicing active listening.  


                       in class                                        with daughter

Barriers to Effective Communication


Did your parents have good communication skills? When I ask people this question, very few say yes. And this is the reason why we don't communicate very well - we were never taught how.

It seems like it should be so easy. We all want to share ourselves with others. But often our best intentions take a turn for the worse whenever emotions enter the picture. We say one thing and end up communicating another. Differences get magnified. Words get twisted. Good intentions are misinterpreted. Talking escalates into arguing and suddenly we want to attack or flee. This can all result in low self-esteem and confidence.


According to Attitude Reconstruction we either strike out and "bash and trash" or don't speak up. No matter our strategy and how we've learned to cope, the result of poor communication is a loss of connection, understanding, and openness.


The goal of good communication is connecting and feeling more love, so if we keep that in mind, we'll be inspired to learn to speak and listen well. Luckily it's not that hard. It just takes practice as we learn how to stop making the four communication violations and instead follow four simple rules.


The Four Rules of Good Communication are so powerful. They work in the bedroom or boardroom, with children and neighbors, with co-workers and strangers. One rule is to listen well. The other three rules instruct us how to speak up so others can hear.


            The Four Rules        

1.   Speak about yourself, not others. ("I" not "you") 

2.     Stay specific, don't overgeneralize.

3.     Be kind, not negative.

4.     Listen.


Here's the wonderful part: each time we stop ourselves from our old ways and abide by the four rules we feel more powerful, confident, and true to ourselves. Others will understand us better and we can also understand them. All it takes is a little practice, practice, practice and everyone can learn to have consistently effective communication skills.  



Frequently Asked Communication Questions

Sometimes it feels good to put people in their place with a righteous jab. They deserve it.
Satisfaction from "you-ing" (telling others about themselves) lasts a few seconds as angry comments dart from your mouth and wound your intended victim. But that temporary pleasure of inflicting damage is short-lived, and quickly turns hollow as you carve deep grooves of hurt, anger, fear, and separation. People don't recover very easily. Taking your anger out on telephone books leaves no bitter aftertaste.

I give my sister great advice, but she rarely takes it. It's so frustrating-I'm just trying to help.
Your well-meaning, unsolicited advice is still "you-ing." If your sister isn't ready for or doesn't want feedback, it's counterproductive to offer it. Don't share your insights unless you ask and receive permission first. If your sister declines, let your pearls of wisdom go and accept that she is responsible for her own happiness. Refocus on being happy yourself and take time to appreciate what you like about her. Power on truths such as "My focus is myself," "We're all on our own paths," and "I wish you well."

I sometimes tell little white lies.
 People lie when they don't feel safe telling the truth. Sometimes lying is more convenient, helping things go our way or making us come across as more appealing. It also saves an emotional reaction that we don't want to deal with. However, expect those lies and half-truths to come back and bite you. The task of being honest requires courage. If you stick to "I"s and specifics, you only have to endure the moment of delivery and resolve not to take other peoples' reactions personally. For most of us, it's easier to handle the brief shock of honesty than the extended suffering of a half-truth.

I enjoy teasing, sarcasm, and kidding. It's my humor. Are you suggesting that I give it up?
You're asking for trouble with this kind of communication style. You are "you-ing" other people, and your fun is at their expense. What you call humor has an angry edge and hurts other people, causing them to become cautious around you. Stick to the "I's and specifics, and I promise that you and others will feel more comfortable. If you continue with your present style, expect major resistance or lukewarm reception.

When my husband and I were talking about which bills we need to pay this week, I couldn't help but bring up all his recent extravagances. I knew I shouldn't, but I did.
The new golf clubs or the restaurant receipts for lunch -- all of the unfinished business that comes flooding into your mind -- should be noted, but addressed at a different time. Right now, stick to the topic of bills that need to be paid this week and how much money is in the account right now. Just stay with that task and celebrate your team effort. If you lump more than one issue together, your communication will inevitably get out of hand, and little will get resolved.

My partner and I often have our ugliest, least productive arguments late at night.
The four rules are essential, all the time, but especially when it's late and you're tired, in a hurry, or preoccupied. Emotionally laden conversations are demanding, so you need the best conditions to handle them successfully. When you don't feel you're making headway, lovingly but firmly stop the conversation. Together, set a specific time to resume talking when you'll both be fresh, or agree on exactly how much longer you'll talk before giving it a rest. Don't succumb to pressure to continue past your personal limit.

How can my partner and I help each other improve our communication with these new rules?
For starters, give each other plenty of praise for following the rules. Change takes effort, and no one can ever be genuinely acknowledged too much. Since you're both learning something new, expect some transgressions. Lovingly help each other to locate the specifics, and to stick with your "I"s. Agree on a loving signal that indicates a rule is being broken. Point out your own lapses by kindly saying, "Oops. Sorry. I need to rephrase what I just said." To avoid unnecessary fallout, you can use a nonverbal signal and agree to do something like throw a Kleenex on the floor or give the time-out sign as a penalty flag. These non-inflammatory signs give you and your husband a playful opening to try again.

What is the key to having good communication in a relationship?
Focus on your half, abide by the four rules, extend the three communication bridges, and seek win-win solutions to resolve differences.

Click here to read about how to resolve any difference effectively and gracefully.  


The 3 Bridges: Communicating with People in the Grip of Emotions  


You can use your senses to determine if someone is swept up in sadness, anger, or fear and then know how to best help out. With just a little practice, you'll recognize the emotions underneath other people's destructive demeanor, words, and actions. Rather than reacting to what they say or do, extend a communication "bridge" to help shift their emotional state. You can give them what they truly long to hear but don't know how to ask for.

                 The Three Communication Bridges  














Where is their attention? That's the most important question to ask yourself.


People feeling sadness but not crying are most likely thinking poorly of themselves. They need appreciations. In your interactions with them, convey the idea, "I love you. You're great." Remind them of their strengths and contributions.


People feeling angry and spewing finger-pointing "you"s all over the place really just feel isolated and are in desperate need of understanding - not debates, lectures, or reprimands. The chance they'll hear what you have to say are slim if you don't first genuinely connect with their position. You don't have to agree. You just have to understand what is true for them. Hear them out without taking in what they say personally. Most likely under the anger they feel sadness or fear.


Folks feeling overwhelmed and agitated are in the grip of fear. They need honest reassurances. Com´┐Żfort, soothe, and repeatedly remind them that everything is and will be all right. Other reassuring comments are "I'm here," "We'll make our way through this together," "I'm not leaving," or "I'll take care of it." Or offer reassurances by reminding them of the objective reality: "Your boss really likes the work you do," or "You've done this successfully before."

 Read More... 



Hey Jude,

Do you have any tips for what to do when my partner and I start bickering?


           Any kind of telling the other person about themselves is a hot bed of negativity that increases the chances of saying something hurtful and damaging. When you notice you're in a scrap, stop wagging your tongue. Switch to trading time, where one person talks for a preset time (like 1, 2, or 5 minutes) about what is true for them about the topic at hand and the other person only listens. When the timer goes off (it's best to set a timer, because it's impartial and not embarrassed to cut someone off at the agreed upon time frame. Keep switching until you both feel understood.

The other strategy is to stop talking, take a time-out, and agree on when you will discuss the issue again at a calmer moment. In the interim, re-center yourself by expressing your emotions, such as pounding out your anger energy, shivering out the fear, or crying if you feel sadness. At that point you will be able to accept your differences, and figure out what is true for you about the topic at hand so you can resume your discussion.

                                                                                            The Forest    Paul Cezanne
Changing old communication habits is hard. You have to resist the old way and put some energy into practicing these new strategies. Lucky for you there are only four rules.  Wishing you many little victories as you wage your battle.