Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘active listening’

Are We Listening or Telling?

In my last blog I talked about three things- judge not, fear not, resist not. Let’s go a bit further into the topic of judging. When we judge others it actually means that we feel we have THE answers not only for ourselves but for them as well. Judging actually demeans the other person and short circuits their capacity to work through their existing life challenges. When we demonstrate this behavior the real message – what we are truly saying to the other person is that we – and we only – have the knowledge, skill and attitude to be all knowing.

In the spirit of humility that is beyond possible. If we had all the answers we would be perfect. Have you met anyone that qualifies as such? Of course not! We are all growing, developing and becoming all that we can be at this time in our lives. If we look at it another way, we have only walked in our own shoes and chosen our unique journey. What would possibly allow us to think that we could tell another person what they should say, think or feel – regarding their situation? That type of thinking is way out of my comfort zone!

It is true that people come into our lives for a reason, season or lifetime. Often it’s because they simply need a listening ear. We only have the capacity to direct our own journey by learning from our own missteps along the way. We have our hands quite full learning our own lessons which take a lifetime to master.

Everyone wants to feel valued. When we choose to tell rather than ask is says way more about our inability is listen and give them the gift they are seeking – a caring ear. Allowing ourselves to tell others what they should say, think or do is way above our experience or pay grade on this earth.

The most loving thing we can do for another person is to ASK them how they feel about a situation and then truly listen as they process through their present dilemma. The time we give them by asking – and not jumping in with our take on the situation – is the greatest gift we can give them. We are, in essence, offering unconditional love and acceptance. We give them that boost of confidence by showing them they are capable of working out their own life challenges. Just think – this all happens when we stop telling and start listening! Basically this is why a therapist asks questions rather then short changes their clients by simply giving them answers.

When we catch ourselves thinking … ‘If they do this or that their life would be better, easier, more productive’ let’s just stop and exhale slowly and realize that this type of thinking actually causes more harm than good. If life were that easy we would all have it under control. Just as we cannot simply explain to a young child how to walk and expect them to do it we need to allow them to try, fall, get up and keep trying as we encourage them with a loving heart. Listening rather than telling is a form of cheering others on from the side as they fall, get up and brush themselves off.

The actual motivation behind the topic of judgment is one of control. I have yet to meet a person who wants to be controlled. Why? Simply put, the message behind control is that ‘you can’t do this on your own – you NEED me to tell you how to handle it. Not so much!

Stepping back and asking the Universe to help us be strong enough to listen, without judgment, and to give others the benefit of our confidence in them is a gift that keeps on giving. When we love ourselves enough to accept that we can not change others and accepting that they are on their own unique learning path we go along way to bringing more light into their world.

Have a great few days!

Celebrate You!

Can you take just a moment today and truly appreciate the uniqueness of you? Just think about it. Your talents, abilities, attitude and interests combined with the knowledge you have gained from your unique life lessons cannot be replicated by anyone. You are the only living person on earth with this rare combination! You are unique unto yourself- that’s something to recognize and celebrate.

When you smile, it is from the heart … when you laugh your energy is infectious … when you speak it is with the calm honesty of truth. You can create enthusiasm in people merely from your presence. When you listen you absorb and reflect rather than merely respond. You engage your whole self in the process of interacting at this moment in time realizing there will never be another opportunity exactly like this one. Your unique ability to understand and empathize with others makes the world a better place – one person at a time.

You can see possibilities in others even when they are blind to them. When you encourage someone to believe in their own inherent ability to handle a situation – sometimes beyond their wildest belief in themselves – you become an agent of the Universe as you help them fully manifest their own strength and capability. Your encouragement is perfectly timed and comes from an intuitive sense of knowing that this person or this place was the place to go for now.

No one on earth can make things happen like you. When you realize something isn’t working you summon from your deep reservoir of strength a knowing – a direction – that is needed for positive change and you work to make it a reality.

You are a one-of-a- kind genuine article. No where can you find the exact same things going on it anyone’s mind, soul and spirit as are going on in yours right now. A million puzzle pieces have combined to make you unique and the mold was used only once…

Like an extremely rare gem you have such inherent value and power that it cannot be codified, qualified or even counted by others. But it can be recognized by yourself as a mighty force that allows you to do or become whatever you can dream. You seem to have a magic genie in your pocket that brings to you whatever is foremost in your thinking.

When you begin to see yourself as the unique being you are, you recognize the importance of learning to love yourself.You now see yourself as so much more than the mere outside shell. You recognize a presence – a loving spirit – inside you that is all powerful. It was a special gift from the Universe – given to you the day you were born. Today you have chosen to unwrap it! When you truly love yourself it becomes the most powerful tool you will ever need in life. It enables you to overcome against all odds and directs you to your own true North.

Tomorrow is a new day with both opportunities and challenges. You will face them with a deeper sense of strength knowing that your unique self is exactly what is needed at this moment in time – 99 and 9/10 percent guaranteed!

Have a great few days!

The Grace of Being Present

Today, I attended the annual Hospice luncheon to thank the volunteers for their service. As a Hospice volunteer we all receive much more than we give to our patients. A smile, a hug or just listening to them as they relive the significant parts of their lives, gives them an opportunity to be heard and appreciated. The meaningful parts of their memories that are forever etched into their minds deserve to be heard. We listen and we share. Some times the patients want to hear about our lives since they are home bound and are still choosing to live life, albeit, through their outside connections. The time we spend talking and listening is invaluable. A Hospice patient (nearing her 91st birthday) told me that she misses her ‘wheels.’ I was not only astounded but touched by this wonderful women’s sharing of her emotions. She felt a loss and was willing to share it with me. The training we go through to be a volunteer is both enlightening and uplifting. When we realize how life begins to close in on those who are in the last stages of their lives, we can be so thankful for our own ability to go out and be immersed in the living, breathing Universe.

The minister, at the meeting today, after talking about our willingness to listen, gave a non example of listening. It made me think about the occasional lack of attention we may give to others in our fast-paced world. He mentioned that he was in a coffee shop recently and there was a grandmother, mother and daughter sitting inside enjoying their beverages. What he found so astounding was that for 20 minutes each of them had their cell phones out and were either talking or texting others. He said there was literally no conversation going on among the three generations.
How sad, I thought to myself. So often a simple phone call to someone you care about is uplifting and gives you the opportunity to make a difference in their world.
Technology is an incredibly important part of all of our lives. We would be lost without it. The trick, if seems, is to keep a balance between being efficient and effective. It helps when we remember the importance of the human voice and the resultant energy that is shared between two people. Their is no substitute for it. Who knows, there may be someone who just needs to hear your voice and receive your energy to make it through another day. Just remember, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Think about it and pay it forward.