Communication involves the organization of feeling and thinking energies and transforming them into messages. It is a key component of the wellness inventory.

Communicating is an energy output that allows us to share our internal experiences of reality with others.

And I know that’s a really deep thought – so just take a second to sit with it. Think about how you feel after a heated argument, or when someone  says they love you for the first time.

Those emotions are very powerful; and so are the words that were communicated to you.

Additional Types of Communication 

When we think about communication we typically think about the dialogue between two people. However there are many different levels of communication. The three primary ones are:

  • Intrapersonal communication – communication you have with  yourself

  • Interpersonal communication – communication between two or more people

  • One way communication – as when you listen to a lecture, watch TV  or are reading this blog which is me communicating with you  (unless you add a comment and begin a dialogue with me which I hope you will do)

There are, of course, different channels of communication which include oral, written, visual, as well.

Continuing with the series of blogs on Wellness, this post will proceed with a spin around the wellness wheel focusing on the 12 dimensions of wellness. We’ll look at the dimension of communication this week.Wellness_Inventory-alone

However, because this is such a significant and rich topic I have decided to break this section down into two posts – one on interpersonal communication (2 way) and next week I will address the topic on intrapersonal communication (how we talk to ourselves).

Two Way Communication

Many years ago I ran across a list of “The Dirty Dozen,” a resource on communication. This was so long ago that I don’t know where I found it and, thus, can’t give proper credit. However, this list has become very useful in helping my clients think about the way in which they communicate – and perhaps what emotions are sparked by each style of communication.

In truth, we all routinely do one or more of these when we communicate with others. Try to think of how you use them as you read through the list:


Ordering, Directing: . “You have to. . .
Warning, Threatening:  “You better not. . .”
Preaching, Moralizing:  “You ought to. . .”
Advising, Giving Solutions:  “Why don’t you. .
Lecturing, Informing:  “Here are the facts. .
Evaluating, Blaming:  “You’re wrong. . .”
Praising, Agreeing:  “You’re right. . .”
Name-calling, Shaming:  “You’re stupid. . .”
Interpreting, Analyzing:  “What you need. . .”
Sympathizing, Supporting:  “You’ll be OK. . .”
Questioning, Probing:  “Why did you. . .”
Withdrawing, Avoiding:  “Let’s forget it. . .”

Do you notice that many of these include the word “you?” When we are on the receiving end of the dirty dozen we stop listening. The message the person is trying to communicate is lost.

In other words, the issue that makes these communications dirty is that they end the dialogue; they stop us from having an exchange with another person.

And when we shut something down it is like a store being closed. No one can get in the door! If you try to push on the door, you risk setting off an alarm or breaking something valuable.

The same is true for communication. If you push someone who is avoiding you, what are the consequences? If you use these terms and shut down yourself, what have you accomplished?

I challenge you to monitor your communication and observe when you are using the dirty dozen. When you catch yourself – because we all do this! – try to change the way that you express yourself.

Do your best to keep the lines of communication open. See if a shift in your words can create a shift in your personal life, too, with your children or spouse.

Project111Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’re  been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses or sign up for the Whole Person Wellness program.