Say What You Mean: The Art of Authentic Communication

For as much time we spend communicating, one would think we’d all be quite proficient, yet how often do you experience misunderstanding and miscommunication as a part of your everyday experience?

It is not our inability to communicate that gets us into binds, but our understanding of clear communication, when another person receives the information you have just communicated in the exact same way you intended it to be received.

Few individuals are taught to clearly communicate what they mean. Instead, we are often taught to compromise, be polite, or say the “right” thing. This is true regardless of age, gender, culture, or background -- if we are not clear in what we want or what we meant to communicate, we find communication to be frustrating or complicated. Yet, communication doesn’t have to be so hard. Like everything, it just takes practice.

Here is a process to help you be more authentic with yourself so you can communicate more clearly with others.

4 Steps Towards Clear Communication

1. Identify what you want.

Most of us are taught to identify with what we don’t want rather than what we do want. The next time you are trying to communicate why you need a more balance in your life, or why you are feeling frustrated, stressed or stuck, fill in the following:

I want __________________________________________________.

The more honest and authentic you are with yourself, the more value you have and the more present you will be able to be in your relationships.


2. Determine why what you want is important to you.

We all have subjective filters that affect how we hear information. We we can communicate what we want and why it is important, we offer a fuller picture and increase the likelihood that our ask is met.

Once you have clearly identified what you want, answer the following:

It is important to me because ________________________________.


3. Be willing to take the risk to be authentic.

There are risks involved in communicating authentically. By saying no, we often risk being thought of as rude or not helpful. By telling someone the truth, we may risk them being upset with us or excluding us from a group.

The truth is, when we compromise ourselves and what we really want just to be nice, or to avoid disagreement, we only sabotage our self-confidence and trust in ourselves. When we are out of alignment with who we are and what we really want, we hurt ourselves.

If you ever doubt how you feel, check in with your body. How do you feel? Where do you feel it? Is there a pit in the bottom of your stomach? Does your head hurt from just thinking about your choices?

No one likes to feel alone or the feeling that they are letting others down, but by not respecting our own boundaries and communicating authentically to others, we further ingrain patterns that lead to frustration and stress.


4. Say it in 10 words or less!

Nothing makes a person tune out more quickly than a run-on sentence.

Practice the art of authentic communication by saying what you really mean. Once you identify what you want, why it is important to you, what you are willing to risk to speak honestly and authentically, practice saying that in 10 words or less. It may take a few tries, but don’t give up. This simple practice can help change the way you think and communicate -- and possibly even rub off on those around you.

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.