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Listening and talking

We all know that one of our greatest needs is to be listened to and understood. Several recent best-selling books have focused on the problems of a lack of communication between men and women. Of course it’s not limited to just men and women…it’s between adults and children…it’s between men and other men, women and other women…we just have issues communicating…period. One of the most important elements of communicating is listening. For over 20 years, I’ve felt that listening is an art-form. Very likely, your listerner perceives the world in a very different way than you do. Without advanced listening skills, you will not hear the feeling and thoughts behind the words.

Sometimes…when a relationship becomes stormy, we often quit listening to the other person because we are so sure we’re “right.” When you finally negotiate the peace you find out that usually there’s a misundestanding at the root of it. Do everything you can to make sure the lines of communication remain open…especially when the relationship tenses up. Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. Pin your partner down and ask, “what did you mean by that” Try to get a clear understanding of what they wanted you to hear. Challenge their body language or their tone of voice, because so much of what is being said can be communicated by body language and tone of voice. “I hear you saying that you want to go out to dinner tonight, but your voice is angry. Is this true?” Perhaps your mate’s voice and body language are reflecting a hard day at work rather than annoyance with you, but if you don’t ask and then listen to the answer, you’ll never know.

Next…don’t be afraid to talk. Letting someone else into your emotional world is an act of trust. It tells them that they are important enough that you will share your deepest thoughts and feelings with them. If you become defensive and withdraw because of perceived criticisms, your partner may never understand why you are so unhappy until the day you walk out the door. At this point, the opportunity for a happy, fulfilling relationship may be over. Give the relationship a chance by communicating your needs to your partner in an open, nonthreatening way. ~ Mack Newton

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