Whether it’s my co-worker, friend, husband, or child, I’ve allowed their tone or choice of words to dictate my response, when really, it’s what they’re saying that’s important. Yet, it is hard to hear the truth through the sarcasm, complaints, or whining.

I’ve decided to change my focus. I’m retraining my mind (ie. approach) to catch their message, not their attitude. It’s a struggle, but when not just hearing words, but “listening” with non-judgement, our relationships reach a deeper level and true communication takes place. All because I take the time to “hear” their words. To do that I will:

  1. Take a deep breath to help clear my mind. Realize I have control of my actions, not theirs.
  2. Relax my body, especially my hands and stomach.
  3. Reply with, “What I’m hearing you say is ______. Is that right?”
  4. Be discerning with advice. Do they just want to vent or are they looking for a solution?
  5. Be kind. It is the most disarming thing you can do and totally within your power. It’s a choice.

Seeing beyond the behaviors displayed gives a better understanding of what’s being said.  It’s not easy, but it is necessary. It’s not fun, but it is rewarding. What behaviors bother you most? Are you ready to “listen” to what’s being said? How will you do that?  Share your struggles in the comments below. Your solution may be just what someone else needs.

Read more from Kayla Marnach!

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