Effective Communication & Listening – How to Listen Actively

For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is not … to coddle them and bring them soup when they’re sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet in them. ~ Brenda Ueland

The first element of communication, speaking,
is impossible without the second, listening;Couple Woman Listening to be a good speaker you must be a good listener. We all want to speak; and even more, we want to be heard. When we become good listeners we create the possibility of a captive audience – people who want to hear what we have to say. In his essay, “The Statesman,” playwright Henry Taylor poetically expresses this idea: “No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren.”

Listening, however, is a big challenge;
even when we try hard our unconscious mind still thinks, “Soon it will be my turn.” We swim in an emotional hotbed of thought and experience, and it’s difficult to quiet its demands long enough to hear and understand what someone really means. Add to that the fact that the other person may not be clear about his own message!

Become a listening artist.
The art of communication is about creating and strengthening relationships. An adept listener strives first to understand others and second to create a feeling within others of being understood.Couple Sunset Your best goal is not to find a solution to whatever problem you may have with someone; the ideal goal is the tapestry of connection which is a result of putting aside for a moment your own frame of reference. A solution is much easier to find once you’re on the same page. To become competent at listening, learn to remain in the listener role until you have a “meeting of minds.” Respond and speak, but remain in the listener role. This means you don’t get to express your point of view! What you have to say may be important, but don’t do it until you’ve created a bond, a sense of oneness.

We sometimes struggle
acknowledging someone’s point of view out of fear of losing our identity or fear that we may somehow become compromised. Recognition of someone’s ideas doesn’t require agreement; its intention is a dance of understanding. Acknowledging someone with sincerity puts him at ease, helps him feel less vulnerable, more open. We often become defensive, feeling that someone is attacking us. Approach communication with the notion that another’s beliefs are merely that; they are her personal ideas, and as such don’t have anything to do with you or anyone else. In “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.” His “Second Agreement” is concise and powerful, “Don’t take it personally.”
Couple Talking Lake
Create listening music.
Be curious; ask questions to better grasp the other person’s meaning. Don’t defend, justify, or criticize. Do not explain how your perspective is correct or why your actions were valid. Do not ask questions meant to invalidate another’s thinking or to validate your own ideas. Be authentic, not “sweet.” True listening is not a passive enterprise but an active extension of yourself into the heart of another, which in turn invites and draws him out into a song of rapport.
Listen; you would be wise!
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Effective Communication & Listening – How to Listen Actively (article) © 2009

Luke 8:17-18

17”For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Where Does Our Sense of Right and Wrong Come From?

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. ~ Isaac Asimov

Striving to be good
, kindhearted, or understanding can be as debilitating as any addiction. Others may speak up; but many, often women, give in to people by use of a misguided idea of virtue. Is this you? You are likely capable, industrious, intelligent, and “nice.” For you pleasing others and stuffing uncomfortable emotions is a way of life; you avoid the slightest appearance of confrontation. Because assertiveness seems mean, you may tolerate abuse. Alternately, you store anger, punish yourself with guilt, and then try again to be the better person.

Goodness in adulthood
is valuable only when practiced with maturity and wisdom. In the absence of discernment it creates intense self-doubt, anger, and loss of self-identity. A person who lives like this often feels crazy in a relationship.

Blind compliance
and the desire to be good are often a measure of one’s need to feel loved and accepted. This need is natural, but mindless acquiescence is avoidance of responsibility. It’s an ineffective response that leads to hopelessness and resentment. You can’t create good relationshipsDetermined Woman or contentment in your life just by being good. When a course of action does not honor and dignify you or others, then you must learn to choose another. You train others to treat you according to your self-image and by your willingness or unwillingness to speak up for and do what is right. You certainly should listen to and consider what others say, but you must be true to yourself. Look for what is real and take responsibility for your choices and their consequences.

In order to live joyfully
and to your true potential, be bold and courageous. Create the determination within yourself to experience the truth that love and assertiveness are not mutually exclusive. Learn to be both respectful of others and self-respecting. You’ve been good much of your life, but that isn’t enough. Be authentic, trust, and honor yourself.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin Texas
When Being Good Doesn’t Work © 2009

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

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