Posts Tagged ‘Understanding’

What if…We Really Listened?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Political season is here in the United States. These days it feels particularly vicious. One person calling the other names, each trying to demonize the other. As I’ve watched, read and tried to listen, it seems to me that I’m not having much opportunity to really get to know what these people really believe or intend to bring about if they are elected.

It occurs to me that while this sort of thing is incredibly obvious in the political arena, it happens in our everyday lives as well.

What would it be like to sit down with someone, perhaps a friend or even a complete stranger. And as they share, we really listened? What if we heard the words they were speaking, watched their body language, felt their energy? What if this communication were not about judging what was being shared – but coming to understand the experiences, thoughts and feelings of the other person?

What if you knew you would not be attacked or belittled for having an opinion that is different from someone else? What if you trusted that the person you were speaking with actually cared about how you feel? What if you knew they were interested in why you think the way you do? What if it mattered just because you matter?

If you knew that someone you were sitting down with was hearing your heart; endeavoring to understand what you are thinking and feeling, would it change your desire and willingness to share?

Would bonds form or be reinforced if we knew that others were listening not with the intention of showing us how foolish or wrong we are, or even to agree that we are rather brilliant? But rather listening to come to know us better. What if we set aside the judgment and instead intended to understand one another? What if we invited empathy into the conversation? What if we discover and relish that this is the basis for true connection.

What if…just for today, we really listened?

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

Subtle or Direct, What Works For You?

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

My eldest son recently married a wonderful young woman. While we were chatting one day she mentioned something about my son not always picking up subtle hints. I suggested giving up on the hints and taking a more direct approach, state exactly what she would like him to do. They are discovering so much about each other and realizing they each have slightly different ways of communicating. They’re working at figuring it out; I think they’ll be fine. That’s both the mom in me and the life coach speaking. 🙂

Since that little chat, I have given this a lot of thought. It’s occurred to me that a lot of aggravation and disappointment is caused by this simple type of misunderstanding. If she keeps dropping hints and he never acts on them, her feelings may be hurt and then she could very likely become angry because she thinks that he is simply being inconsiderate. From his point of view, he thinks all is well. After all, no one has informed him of anything different. Oh maybe she’s feeling a bit grumpy, but he asked if anything was bothering her and she said no, so it must be that she needs a nap. Ug

Time for a bit of life coaching here. It’s really pretty basic and so simple that you already know what I’m going to say, I’m sure.

They need to have a little talk about communication styles. It needs to be out loud, in actual words, face to face and preferably with smiles on their faces. She probably needs to bite the bullet and simply be more direct with him. For example, instead of piling all of his dirty socks on top of his favorite baseball cap, thinking this will convince him to put them in the clothes hamper, she probably needs to ask him to put them in the hamper. For his part, he needs to make an actual effort to communicate clearly as well and also when he is really not clear about what are probably hints ask! Again with a smile. Think of how much aggravation will be avoided.

I found that when my boys grew up and moved away from home I missed them. Who knew? While I had told them I would appreciate hearing from them often the truth is that their idea of often and mine were incredibly different. I found myself missing them and wanting to hear from them more frequently. How did I fix this? My solution was to phone and leave a message, telling me that I need to hear them tell me how much they loved, adored and missed me and that when they had done this I wouldn’t call them for another week or so. Within a day or two I would get a call from a smiling boy (you can always hear the smile over the phone) and he would tell me just what I needed to hear. I do the same thing with my husband. If I am feeling a bit neglected, I simply ask him to tell me that he loves me, how fabulous he thinks I am and how lucky we are to be together. He will smile and repeat everything that I have asked him to say, what a great guy! I’m happy because I know he means it, he’s happy because he knows that he’s given me exactly what I needed at the moment. We’re both feeling happy and no one is feeling neglected or misunderstood.

My point here is that as nice as it would be for us to communicate through hints and clues, for many of us it simply is not all that effective. In this day of very busy lives, we often don’t  have the luxury of face to face communication. In the past we did have that luxury and so much of our communication was body language, hints and subtleties were much more easily understood. Since we now rely on phone calls, emails and quick little chats with one another, we need to be sure that we are easily understood. When we speak calmly, clearly and directly we are much more likely to have our needs and desires understood and that makes it much more likely they will be met.

Please clearly understand, I wish you a fabulous day,
Sandy