This article is printed from http://www.SelfGrowth.com
Intimate Connections: Genuine Listening Makes All the Difference
By Peri Coeurtney Enkin
Oct 6, 2005
How many times have you been
talking away, wrapped up in a conversation, sharing something important, meaningful or revealing about yourself only to realize that the person you're talking with has drifted away & is obviously
And, if you tell the truth, haven’t you done the very same thing yourself? What does it take for us to really hear what someone else is saying
to us about themselves?
Genuine connections begin with deep listening. And satisfying communication requires us to be fully present for each other & to really hear what's being offered up. For most of us deep listening doesn't come naturally. In fact life experience often trains our natural deep listening abilities right out of us.
There are many ways that our ability to hear someone
else becomes blocked. Once we know about these blocks we have a much better chance of releasing them & cultivating more
satisfying habits. Here are 3 of common ways we undermine the quality of communication in our relationships.
3 Common Communication Blocks
1. We listen for what needs fixing, changing or figuring out. Many of us learned very early in life to look & listen for problems. We're quick to notice what isn't working
& what's wrong. We're busy analyzing & sorting for what isn't right. Our perspective distorts our listening abilities.
2. We listen for opportunities to share our own wisdom, knowledge & competence. We're busy listening to the running commentary inside our own head while someone else is talking to us.
assume that we know what words & sentences are coming next. Often we have moved on long before our partners’
sharing is complete. We have lost our curiosity, the ability to be open with wonder about another human being.
Being fully present for another is an art that can be cultivated. The following antidotes will give you some clues about how to go about
1. See others as whole &
complete right from the start. Know that everyone has a source of internal wisdom & intelligence that they can
access for their own answers & guidance.
This might feel like a big leap at first.
When people are telling us their “problems” we automatically assume that they want us to do something about them.
But there are many times when
the greatest gift we can give to others is our confidence in their own abilities to find solutions for themselves. Granted this isn't always the case &
in some situations, when advice is clearly sought & asked for there is nothing wrong with offering help. But often we
interfere when quiet listening would serve the most.
2. Give up trying to impress others
with your brilliance & be fully present for them instead. The fact that you know things & have gifts & talents is without question. Everybody does. If you
want to create genuine connections with others, forget about your self & get curious about them instead.
3. Be curious & approach each communication – whether with someone you've just met or someone you've been married to for 30 years, with fresh eyes of wonder.
We change & so do our friends, children & partners. When you think you already know everything there is to know about another
person the adventure of intimacy begins to falter.
You can create genuine intimate connections by looking for wholeness, focusing fully on the other person & cultivating ongoing curiosity. Listen in this way & notice how the loving feelings between you & others blossom.
Bend, Don't Break
By Jean R Charles
When faced with change, a problem, or a difficult person, most people react by becoming extremely resistant, rigid & inflexible.
There's a much better approach - the fine art of bending. Being flexible & adapting
to tough situations, enables you to ride out such storms of life & even allow them to work for you.
Research indicates that only about 15% of a business person’s success can be attributed to job knowledge & technical skills. Fully 85% of success is determined by the ability to adapt readily to changing situations & deal expediently with people.
These skills require enormous flexibility & adaptability –
In this rapidly changing world, old ways no longer work. Research & development make yesterday’s products & procedures outmoded today.
To deal with change the most valuable quality you can develop is flexibility.
Remaining open-minded & adaptable to new circumstances allows you to examine any situation for its opportunity or benefit.
are invariably those who remain calm & flexible in the midst of unexpected turbulence. They experience problems & setbacks as opportunities to learn &
grow, not as horrible reasons to procrastinate or quit.
They change plans to meet the need of the moment. They're able to generate alternate plans, think of solutions & not repeat mistakes.
Once you have a plan, it may be difficult to change it & “go with the flow”. Of course, it's true that success often requires perseverance & sticking to a plan.
At the same time, inflexibility can intensify a problem which is interfering with your plan. When you remain flexible you can detour around an obstacle & still reach your desired destination.
There are countless examples of times when bad situations occur that
are beyond your control, i.e., – something you anticipated doesn’t happen, someone doesn’t deliver on a promise, someone changes your plans without your consent, you make less money that you projected, etc.
Some questions to ask at these times are:
What’s really important right now?
What is the worst that can happen?
What are the alternatives?
A plan certainly can help you manage your time; however a flexible
plan will help manage your stress. Write your schedule in pencil rather than carve it in stone.
Just as you need to adapt to changes in plans, it's vital to apply the same flexibility to dealing with people. Learn to bend quickly & adapt with ease.
Rigidly sticking to your point of view & arguing endlessly usually comes from a need to be right all the time. As everyone sees the world from their own perspective, there
rarely are ultimate rights & wrongs in an argument.
The key to having people consider your side is to show that you're
a flexible person with a genuine interest in their ideas. When you want someone to agree
with you, it helps to start where they are & begin working from that position.
Acknowledge their perspective, even if you don’t understand it. You must be the one to move first to reach accord. Rigid thinking on both sides leads to mutual defensiveness & escalation of disagreement.
A question to ask yourself in such a situation is, “Would I rather
be right or would I rather be happy?”
Of course, there's a limit to how flexible you can be with your actions & interactions. You should never compromise on personal standards or principles.
There's a great difference between flexible decision-making & practicing “situational” ethics. Just look at
Martha Stewart & the executives from Enron.
Examine your ability to be flexible
& adapt quickly to new situations & ideas. Consider that brittle steel can be shattered with a slight impact. When
steel has been tempered it can withstand a mighty earthquake – it'll bend easily & not break.
If you need some tempering consider the following suggestions:
Be responsive to change rather than resistant.
Resolve to seek solutions rather than discord.
Positive thinking may give you power. Flexible thinking gives you even greater strength!
Feelings Aren't Facts
By Cathie Barash
This topic of how feelings aren’t facts came up recently with some friends & we had a few laughs over it. Feelings are definitely important & a good indicator for us to pay attention to, however, not everything we feel is true to the situation.
For example, how many times have you been sitting in a room & someone around you had a scowl on their face
& you were sure it was directed toward you.
Or, you were public speaking & noticed someone in the audience looking at their watch & looking very
bored with your speech. The more you felt that their behavior was directed toward you, the more you felt really bad & maybe
Then, you find out the person wasn't even looking at you or they were deep in thought about a disagreement that had with someone else.
From my own experience, I remember
years ago giving a talk to a small group of people & I noticed two young men laughing amongst each other. Well, of course,
I concluded that they were laughing at me & it didn’t make me feel too great.
After my talk was over, the two laughing men came up to me & expressed how much they enjoyed my speech.
They said they couldn’t help but laugh because they identified so strongly with what I was talking about & complimented
me on my good sense of humor in the way I delivered the material.
Well, you can imagine how thrilling it was to hear that they weren't laughing at me. If they hadn’t told
me this, my feelings may have led me to conclude that my speech wasn’t good or I would have felt upset toward these men.
That experience taught me a great lesson & that is:
that our perceptions aren't always correct & that mistaken perceptions can lead to some painful feelings.
In a nutshell, not everything is about us. We can’t possibly know what
is going on inside someone else’s head or why they behave the way they do.
I do know it's painful to immediately conclude that it has anything to do with us. I once read a great book
about this called, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz & one of the agreements is,
‘Don’t take anything personally.’
He really explains this concept very well.
It can actually be a bit
ego puncturing to find out that not everything is about us but very liberating at the same time. That's truly the good news because it saves a lot of wear & tear on our emotions. There's an expression that states,
"don't let people rent free space in your head"
not to ponder, obsess over or worry about trying to figure out what the behavior of someone else meant in relation to you.
Concluding that a certain person dislikes or thinks badly about you, leads to a lot of unnecessary suffering. Let’s face it, not everyone on the planet is going to like
everything about us nor are we going to like everything about someone else.
I had a speech teacher in college who addressed this issue. She said that even if you attempted to please everyone
around you, there would still be someone out there who you couldn’t please, so you may as well please yourself &
enjoy an authentic life.
I would challenge any of us to try the following experiment & see what happens. Next time you're presented with someone who you perceive
to be directing his or her negative energy at you, tell yourself, "it's not about me" & challenge yourself to not take
This isn't to say that our behavior is perfect all the time & that we don’t cause others to be hurt. We still need to be accountable for our behavior & make any necessary amends.
What I'm addressing here the fact
that our feelings can sometimes fool us. For example, we can feel like someone doesn’t like us & then they ask us out on a date.
Or we can feel like we aren't smart enough & then get great grades in school.
Just because we may feel a certain way, doesn't make it a fact. What seems to be a fact, however, is that our
feelings come from the way we think & with some help & guidance our thoughts can be changed.
Cathie assists others in taking action in their
lives to achieve their goals & dreams. She's had the opportunity to witness the power that a change in attitude, direction & perspective has had in her own life & the lives of other people. She has a unique blend of humor,
wisdom & genuine caring.
Prior to coaching, Cathie graduated cum laude,
with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & majored in Marketing. She had the opportunity to work for many
large financial corporations & for a prestigious University as well.
Her most rewarding work experiences, however,
were found in talking with others, about what mattered most to them in their personal lives. From these connections she was
inspired to pursue a career in coaching. She became involved with Coach University at Coachu.com & participated in their
extensive coaching curriculum.
As a result, she founded Powerful Life Solutions,
LLC & is achieving her goal of helping others make a difference in their lives. She recently wrote an e-booklet about
self-esteem that can be purchased at her website http://powerlifeonline.com/.
What is Genuine Control?
By Deanne Repich
-- Genuine control isn't something lost or gained according to what someone else says, does or thinks. It's within me in abundance at all times.
-- Genuine control isn't about trying to make people like or love me. It's about liking & loving myself & allowing my inner beauty to shine thru.
-- Genuine control isn't something that comes from manipulating the external environment - other people, events & circumstances. It comes from changing my internal environment - how I perceive & act.
-- Genuine control doesn't result in feelings of powerlessness, anxiety & self-doubt. It results in feelings of empowerment, contentment & increased self-esteem.
-- Genuine control doesn't drag me down. It lifts me up.
-- Genuine control doesn't come & go depending on how I'm feeling at the moment. It's within me at all times, even if I choose not to realize it or use it.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean attempting to make others do things my way & think the way I want. It means making my own choices & thinking for myself.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean looking outside of myself to determine who I am. It means looking within myself & appreciating who I am.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean single-handedly transforming economies, business climates & political realities. It means transforming my
internal reality (myself), which in turn positively affects the whole.
-- Genuine control isn't about predicting the future - my grades, my income, my relationships, or a thousand other things. It's knowing that
whatever happens, I can choose how to perceive & react to life's events.
mean trying to change someone else's feelings. It means that each person's feelings are his or hers alone, just as my feelings are mine alone.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean never making mistakes. It means understanding that making mistakes (& learning from them!) is essential to my success.
-- Genuine control isn't about feeling the need to change other peoples' preferences & opinions. It means developing & respecting my own.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean attempting the impossible & feeling disappointed that I didn't achieve it. It means attempting the possible & congratulating myself on each small success I achieve.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean telling others how to spend their time. It means choosing how I spend my time.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean other people, events & situations determine my feelings, thoughts & actions. It means that I choose how to feel, think & act.
-- Genuine control isn't about trying to stop the rain, the snow, or the sunshine. It's about making rainbows, snowmen & sand castles.
Genuine control isn't about attempting to change what other people think, do & feel because I know what's best for them. It's about deciding how I react to what others think, do & feel because I know what's best for me.
-- Genuine control doesn't mean controlling all of life's events. It means interpreting life's events in a way that promotes my growth, happiness & well-being.
Falling in Love Too Fast
By Gary Caine
The feeling of falling in love is of the most exciting, thrilling & life changing events. Falling in love can change your entire outlook on life. Falling in love can occupy your mind & seem to take away all of life's problems.
However, falling in love can bring about a serious problem of endless heartaches if a person falls in love too fast. Let us look at what brings about the feeling of needing to fall in love, what defines true love & the string of broken hearts that can occur if one falls in love too quickly.
With these key elements examined, a person may realize that they're
too rapidly generating the feeling of falling in love & in doing so, producing unfortunate consequences.
A life filled with a great amount of broken hearts predictably points to a great amount of relationships in which the person fell in love too quickly.
Most people are witness to a loving relationship from a very young age, as we witness the love of our parents.
As adults, the media overwhelms us with love stories. Countless advertising bombards us to find love. When one is single, it may seem that everywhere they look; there are couples holding hands, talking & laughing together.
This can produce an overpowering desire for a person to find love.
Real & genuine love means connecting in ways that are almost indescribable. Present are the key elements that each desire in a relationship. There is a strong emotional attachment, as well as an intense physical attraction.
The two people in the relationship spent time thoroughly getting to know the each
other. These people will understand each other quirks & habits. They'll learn each other's history & the life that they lived up until they met.
Love isn't something easily obtained. For long periods, love can escape us, as we search for that someone special that we wish for in our lives.
Telling yourself that you're in love, doesn't create love. If not all of the essentials of genuine love are in place, convincing yourself that you're in love doesn't magically produce those necessary elements. If in almost every relationship you enter, you fall in love within a couple weeks or even days, you must ask yourself; are you really in love?
Undoubtedly, falling in love produces a magnificent euphoric high. The emotion of finding one's "soul mate" fulfills a deep desire to bond with someone. True love is such a rare find. In terms of realistic expectations, one simply can't sincerely be in love with every person they meet or date.
Sincerely asking yourself the question, "Was it really true love?" may give you the knowledge that perhaps you didn't actually experience love. This isn't to imply you didn't admire someone, like spending time with him or her or had lust for him or her.
However, did real love exist?
Comprehending that it didn't, may lessen the sense of feeling betrayed & the feeling of being wounded from relationships gone astray.
To free yourself from being the victim of lost "love," give yourself the time to unequivocally get to know & appreciate someone, allowing love to happen in it's own due course.
Only then, can you truly know that you're in love.