The Art of Listening

 

(How to Nurture the Ones We Love)

 

by Cheryl

 

It's amazing how easy it is to either nurture or hurt the people we love and care about the most. And of course, whether it is un-intentional or deliberate; whether we are feeling angry, fearful, jealous, frustrated, resentful or whatever – it's absolutely crucial that we don't hurt them. Instead, we need to show them that we love and care about them. Naturally the easiest way to nurture our loved ones is by being kind, loving, respectful, honest, trustworthy, truthful and so on.  And it's intuitively obvious that if we follow this caring, nurturing path we will have happier, more productive relationships with everyone.

 

So Here's Some Helpful Suggestions

To Achieve This Goal

 

First, We Can Start By Improving Our Listening Skills:

 

  • Open Communications – Listen before we speak. Genuinely listen to what others are telling us. Stay silent until they are finished. Do not interrupt and try to give advice. Let them finish talking. This helps them feel and know that we are truly listening to them and that we understand them. This is very important in keeping the line of communication open.

 

  • Validate – Plus, when we carefully listen to what someone is saying (without giving advice or trying to tell them what they should do), this validates their feelings and emotions and shows that we genuinely care about them.

 

  • Acknowledge –And when we validate what they are saying (by sincerely listening to them) they feel that we are genuinely acknowledging them as a person and as a result they now feel more loved, understood and accepted.

 

What Else Can We Do?

 

Respect –  Everyone likes to be treated with respect.  And showing respect is also a form of acknowledgment.  So by showing our loved ones (and all others) respect, we are building a great foundation in the construction of healthy relationships.

 

Control of Our Emotions – Staying in control of our emotions even when we are upset will benefit both us and the people around us. Getting upset only makes things worse. If we gently, in a kind, friendly, and respectful manner tell that person that something they said or did has upset us or hurt us (if it feels appropriate to do so), then we will enable them to see our side in a positive light rather than a negative one.  Also, by staying in control of our emotions it will help us to see more clearly what really happened, instead of having clouded judgment. So it is crucial to stay in control of our emotions and focus on the big picture. Then, when we know all the facts in a positive way, we can respond fairly and politely.

 

Think Before We Speak – When engaging in any conversation, it's always a good idea to, stop and think about what we are going to say before speaking or responding to what someone else has said. This will help prevent us from saying something we may regret, or saying something hurtful. Once we have spoken we can not take it back. The hurt and pain that we may have caused our loved one, or any other person has now, already occurred. It's best to apologize right away. But this does not always fix or undo the hurt or pain we have caused them. They may lose trust in us and may not forgive us, so it's essential that we, "Think Before We Speak",  to prevent hurting loved ones, people we care about, or anyone else.

 

Misunderstandings – Sometimes we might say something that we thought was perfectly clear, appropriate and easy to understand, but the other person took it the wrong way. If this happens, it's important for us to apologize and clarify the points that we're trying to make – that way the other person will realize that it was simply a misunderstanding and that what was said was not intended to be negative or hurtful. This sincere, heartfelt apology hopefully will help clear the air, so our loved one will not feel quite as bad.  Likewise, it is crucial to always be sensitive to our loved ones' feelings when we are speaking or communicating with them. This sensitive mindfulness helps us to say things in a more diplomatic way and thus prevents us from inadvertently hurting our loved ones and further complicating things with confusing, embarrassing misunderstandings. So let's, "Think Before We Speak", and show our loved ones and all others that we are being respectful, loving, and kind.

 

Follow Through – If we always follow through with what we say we're going to do (by actually doing it), we will be showing respect to our loved ones and others. We will show them that we actually do care about them and that we are trustworthy. Our word will be validated and they will know that they can trust us. This builds respect between both parties involved. Thus, our words will have value and mean something to them, instead of just being empty words. After all, we all know that: “Actions Speak Louder than Words”. And of course, we need to prove it by “doing it” – so please follow through!

 

Work Through Our Issues Together – It's crucial to honestly work through our issues with loved ones in positive ways.  So we need to let go of all the powerful, negative, fear-based emotions as well as any hurtful words or actions.  And of course, be supportive by using only positive attitudes, behaviors, body language, and positive, kindly spoken words. Remember, people can feel and see what we are saying simply by our tone of voice, gestures and body language.  So it's crucial for us to be truthful, honest and polite while we are working together to resolve our issues and concerns.  In this way, we will gradually learn how to face most of the challenges that life presents to us.

 

Summary:

 

Remember, all of us make mistakes, so it's important that we all be forgiving.  And it's crucial that we do not get angry or upset or let our emotions get the better of us.  It's far more productive to stay centered, calm and in control of our emotions and in a kind, gentle, tactful manner let others know how we are feeling. That way they will realize that they may have hurt our feelings or they may have said something that was misunderstood. And of course, be kind and fair to them by giving them a chance to make things right. But even, if for one reason or another, they can’t, please forgive them and accept and love them as they are.

 

By making the above insights and practices a part of our lives, we will be much less likely to hurt the people we love and care about. And our relationships with them will flourish and blossom so we all will lead healthier and happier lives.

 

Please click here for further insights on the topics of "Tactfulness" and "Forgiveness".

 

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