Here’s a quick question for you….
What’s the one skill that can change relationships for the better in the shortest amount of time?
Don’t worry, almost everyone gets this wrong.
It’s a simple communication skill everyone thinks they’re really good at but aren’t…
Before you click off this article and go on to something else, consider THIS…
What if you aren’t as good at listening as you think?
What if you’re so fed up with the people in your life because they don’t listen to you…
That you’ve stopped listening to them?
How would it affect your love life, your relationships with your kids or your friends, your ability to get the job you want and the income you deserve or even how much inner peace you feel at the end of every day…
If everyone around you, including you, listened with an open, loving heart?
For example, take Sherry who had been violating an important “communication rule” without even knowing it…
She thought she was really good at listening but her friends, her husband and especially the people she worked with thought otherwise.
You’d be talking to her and all of a sudden she’d interrupt you and start trying to solve your biggest life problems…
Without you even asking!
Other times she’d take the conversation sideways and interrupt with stories from her life…
Leaving the person she was talking with feeling unheard, unappreciated and unimportant.
In those situations, it was obvious that she really wasn’t listening.
The people in her life found this totally annoying to the point that they didn’t want to engage in conversation with her any more.
We could go on and on about what Sherry did wrong in her communication to alienate her friends, family and almost everyone else close to her…
But when she came to us for help, one of the biggest things she discovered was that she was a lousy listener.
And she constantly broke an important “communication rule” of not “fixing” someone who hadn’t asked to be fixed.
At first, it was painful for her to see.
She didn’t want to consider this as a possibility for her relationship issues.
She didn’t want to look at “listening” or her lack of skill around listening was causing her problems in her relationships and life.
When she finally found enough courage to look at the truth, she felt ashamed and embarrassed.
She really loved and cared about the people in her life.
All she wanted to do was help them by telling them all the ways she thought their life could be better.
Here’s something Sherry was shocked to find out about her attempts to “help” or “fix” the people in her life…
Unless you’re some kind of therapist, coach or they actually ask for help…
The people in your life don’t want you to change them or fix them.
Most of the time, they just want you to listen to them and love them when they talk to you.
So, how do you listen to someone else and have them feel truly heard, felt and seen in that moment?
You just listen.
It’s like what one of Otto’s clients said recently when they were talking about the art of listening more deeply…
He said, “You mean the secret to listening better is just to listen to the other person when they’re talking and just shut up?”
Otto said, “That’s right, you’ve got it!”
What almost everyone gets wrong about listening is they think listening is about rushing in to fix, change or solve a problem for them in some way.
People think it’s their job to lighten the other person’s load that might involve entertaining stories.
And while all of these things may be helpful to that other person, most people, in situations like this, forget to do the most important thing of all.
And that is to ask if the other person wants your help or not.
To ask whether they just want you to stand there, listen and be a friend to them in their time of need or if they truly want or need your help?
Far too much of the time, we all forget (us included) that the people in our lives are much stronger than we think, much wiser than we give them credit for and still tapped into the creative energy of all things.
Often times, we’re so busy thinking about what we want to say that we blank out when the other person is sharing what’s on their mind.
All we need to understand is that most of the time, people don’t want to be rescued.
They just want to be listened to, loved and heard.
It’s been said that deep listening is the highest form of respecting another.
When you begin listening at a deeper level, others feel it.
They feel your attention and it helps to create a feeling of ease that can translate to greater openness to listening to you as well.
Love is always available. We just have to get out of our own way.