2 friends interacting

How Aware Are You Of Your Impact On Others? Part Two

In my previous blog I invited you to consider how often you notice how you may be impacting someone else.

We looked at the definition of Impact Sensitivity (the degree to which I stop and intentionally consider not only what the other person’s emotional and relational health might be, but also specifically how I would like to contribute to their emotional health and the health of our relationship), and what some of the challenges can be.

The Myriad of Ways People Can Impact Each Other

Human beings impact each other in innumerable ways, some highly significant and even life changing, others less significant and even inconsequential. Here are some examples of our possible impact:

  • Overall, how emotionally and relationally healthy the other person is.
  • Their levels of self-esteem: how capable, how lovable they perceive themselves to be, how connected, self-confident, unique, or powerful they feel
  • How safe they feel around you.
  • How much they seek out your company, input, guidance, support and encouragement.

What It Takes to Become More Impact Sensitive

Being impact sensitive takes more time, energy and thoughtfulness. It means pausing before you speak in order to think about the possible impact of what you’re going to say.

And yes, it takes more time and energy. At first, a person can feel they are not quite as spontaneous as they were before working on their Impact Sensitivity.

Some Specific Steps to Becoming More Impact Sensitive

In order to become a more aware and Impact Sensitive communicator, a person can start by incorporating the following in their language:

Increasing the use of continuum language rather than absolute language: “To what extent or degree…” versus “You always…” “You never…”

If we are unhappy or struggling with something, instead of being accusatory, use I-messages to communicate what’s happening for you (“When you… I felt… because… What I wish you had done this instead…”)

The probable impact on the other person: they can feel respected and appreciated which can lead to a willingness to discuss something rather than having to deal with feeling shamed, blamed, attacked or shut down.

You Can Teach the Skill to the Children in Your Life

We all know that children can get into major conflicts with each other. Sibling rivalry can make life very challenging for parents and other caregivers! Teachers can benefit from knowing this information and applying it in their classroom settings. Having children do a rewind and replay of their interaction when they were attacking, blaming, shaming or attempting to force their will on someone else to instead consider the issues, needs and feelings of the other person, can help them learn over time the value in being more Impact Sensitive.

Appreciating the Potential Impact of Becoming More Impact Sensitive

By becoming more Impact Sensitive, we each can claim the power to enhance the lives of others in our relationships with them. We can find ourselves feeling closer to people, especially those people who really matter to us. It’s worth the effort it takes to learn this skill because it can enhance so many aspects of our lives and our relationships.

Invitation for Reflection

  1. In what ways does this information enhance your awareness and understanding of Impact Sensitivity?
  2. How does this new awareness and understanding impact how you feel about yourself? Do you feel about your power to nurture others and to handle conflicts in fair and reasonable ways?
  3. Can you think of someone you might specifically want to be more intentionally Impact Sensitive with? Specifically, how can you do this?