FIONA REILLY: “Four Tips for Effective Listening”

The gift of being heard is something really precious. Having someone listen attentively to our expression or story is very healing and can enable us find our own understanding, acceptance, balance and joy again. Listening sounds like a very simple thing and indeed it is, yet many of us struggle to listen effectively. Being a good listener requires being present and fully attentive to the other. It is not about offering advice or fixing anything or making the other feel better, it’s simply being there and paying attention.

 

“Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell our story to someone who listens, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances.”

~Margaret J. Wheatley

 

Four Tips for Effective Listening

So how might we listen more effectively… there are many things that can help! Below I outline four suggestions that I have found to be fundamental to good listening.

Be Present

Initially, it is vital to be present and with the speaker, to give them our full attention. If possible find a quiet place for a listening exchange where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Turn off phones and any background noise. Honour your boundaries, if you feel you only have 20 minutes to listen, say so at the beginning so the boundaries are clear or explain that now is a not a good time and arrange to connect when the time is right. To the best of your ability come from a place of acceptance and compassion and avoid judgement of them or their story. Be fully attentive to them and the energy between you.

 

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.”

~Margaret J. Wheatley

 

Simply Listen

Many of us want to try to fix and make things better for the other person, yet the most beneficial way is for them to work through whatever is arising and to find their own solutions. The way to help someone feel better is to encourage them to be with their pain or confusion or whatever their experience is, to explore it and then they may feel empowered to move through it. Telling someone they need to be strong or things will get better or something similar isn’t effective longterm and can be disempowering. So try not to fix the situation or offer solutions unless they are invited. When listening our purpose isn’t to make a person feel better, simply by having their experiences heard in a non-judgemental and accepting way can allow things to shift and heal.

 

“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.”

~Paul Parker

 

Focus On the Speaker’s Perspective

While it’s useful to be able to identify with their experience, telling someone of your similar experience is not usually helpful, so try not to habitually compare their situation to one that you have experienced. It is of course fine if you are having a two way conversation, however if you want to encourage a person to explore their experience, your story isn’t what they need to hear, at least not until they have worked through their own stuff. It can take from what the speaker is saying and turns the attention away from them. Occasionally it may be appropriate to share your own experience, use your intuition on when that feels right. You could check with the speaker if they’d like you to share what happened to you, though mostly I find it best to stay with what the speaker is sharing.

In order to acknowledge their experience and what they have shared, you can reflect back to them what you heard them say, for example “You felt very angry when that happened”. Such a reflection does a number of things, it shows that you are listening, that their feelings or expressions are valid and enables them to go into more depth around the issues. In focussing on the other person you may notice the subtleties of body language, tone of voice… etc., which can sometimes indicate more than their words and again if appropriate you can reflect back what you notice.

Don’t engage in a drama or exaggerate the situation, sometimes what is being shared may arise feelings in you, acknowledge these internally though put them aside you can always return to explore them yourself at a more appropriate time.

Become Comfortable With Silences

For many silences or gaps in conversation cause discomfort and they rush to fill the quietness with something. However allowing a silence lets the speaker know that you are there for them and ready to listen when they are ready to speak. Speaking in order to break a silence usually ends up in directing the speaker in a different direction, than what may have otherwise arose next. If you do feel to ask questions, do so for clarity and understanding. The facts or details usually don’t matter. If you do feel to ask questions try to keep them open ended, you could you phrases like “How was that for you?” to encourage more disclosure or as I mentioned earlier reflect back what you have just heard.

Acknowledge Pain

This is an excellent video relating to how to support a grieving friend and the principles offered could be used with other challenging situations, not only grief. The way to help someone feel better is to encourage them to be with their pain, to explore and accept it and then they may feel empowered to move through it.

 

“One of the easiest human acts is also the most healing. Listening to someone. Simply listening. Not advising or coaching, but silently and fully listening.”

~Margaret J. Wheatley

 

With loving gratitude for all those who have shown me how to listen well and for my continued learning. I wish you well with your listening explorations,

Fiona

 

~via WakeUp-World.com

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CONSCIOUS REMINDER: Staying Present In The Now — Here’s What You Can Do To Pursue Your Dreams”

Every one of you has probably noticed that regardless of how hard you try, you cannot make your long-run plans anymore. It just means that when you try even harder, you will probably make certain things happen.

However, today’s lives are not working in that way anymore. Instead of making plans and then working hard on them, you are guided to ask for someone to guide you and set your intentions about the following two or three steps towards that same intentions.

However, unless that guidance comes, nothing is going to work well, no matter what you do.

“Making the things work” ended.

The time of ‘making the things work’ has ended. Are you waiting for your guidance to show up? Are you permitting your life to open out just as it is going to? For a lot of people, this may seem like you are standing still.

However, when you remain still for a more extended period, you can notice that the approach does not mean not taking any action, but it is simply about staying here and be present, to every level of your knowing and being.

Staying very present is aware action.

When you stay present at every level means that you are taking conscious action. So, it will allow you to be right in that present moment — entirely.

It is going to put your focus here and right now. You will look toward your future, but you are not really overlooking what happens now, as you are quite busy as you focus on far off goals.

To be and remain present will allow your soul to come next to you entirely. So, this is the place from where guidance of everything you have to do appears — your soul.

Your soul wants to be the creator of your life.

Your soul wants to live inside you and through you. This is the reason why it creates the conditions which require you to widely open to it.

Also, that is why your soul drives the shift in your human experience. It wants to create your life with you. It also intends to be the co-creator of your life and even the rest of this world.

It seems like the soul has conspired. It does not let your long-term plan to work as you want, as it wants you to become more present and long enough, so it may come into you more entirely.

Deep breathing, meditating, or journalling are some things which you can do in order to connect with your soul and also become profoundly present. A lot of people do these things or take actions in this simple way.

What is going to happen when there is a specific thing waiting inside our imagination, and which desires to actually be born within us?

Usually, it may feel as our difficulties can make our dreams look like they are impossible to happen, so we will not believe that it will occur for us. Also, it can look like the ones that achieved higher levels of success actually have a better, to begin with than other people have.

But, success cannot come overnight, although every one of us has the chance to achieve it. When we faced tough times and struggles, most of us that were successful started bad and also experienced heartbreaking difficulties and struggles first, and that made us find the other self that transformed us.

So, at times we feel like we are not getting anywhere, we should not surrender, because the dream and idea were planted in our minds for some specific reason and it is all on us to show it — we can do it!

We should not get bitter, but get BETTER.

At a time of misfortune and rough times, we will probably think why us?

However, those times do not imply that we need to be stuck there forever. Tough and difficult times occur to every one of us, and the way we overcome those times is what later on determines our lives. Sometimes, such times can destroy us and lead us to take become addicts of drugs and alcohol. However, when such strong emotions may get focused on our purpose and dreams and gain a more constructive form, it will be time when every single thing may turn around.

A person named Helen Keller, the one that was born blind, deaf and dumb, and who marked the history of the great of life, is actually the evidence that regardless of the circumstances, a person can never be defeated.

 

“Every single failure or traumatic experience can come with a seed of equivalent success.”

~Napoleon Hill

 

The person who changed this whole world, as he invented cars, named Henry Ford, comes from a family that was uneducated and poor. However, he was working with everything he possessed, and he never waited for something to occur by chance. Instead, he followed his dreams, so the world also changed as a result of his great work. Moreover, Thomas Edison has failed about 10,000 or more times, without giving up of his dream.

There is just one difference between the ones that succeed and the ones that don’t, and that is never surrendering.

Here, we will present you the six steps to make your dreams become a reality.

The six steps for specific goals by Thomas Edison:

1. Focus on your mind and the most particular thing you desire.

2. Think about what would you like and try to do and give in order to get what you want.

3. Schedule the event.

4. Write openly about what you really want, put the right time, and mention what you have the intention to give — then, describe all that clearly.

5. Then, read that statement two times a day prior to going to sleep, and also when you wake up.

6. In the end, convince yourself about it being yours.

We are not supposed to wait for chance or luck, because everyone that succeeds what he or she wanted did that with great hope, and wishing and also mental work prior to acquiring it.

 

~via ConsciousReminder.com