I once heard someone say he likes to leave a public bathroom looking better when he leaves it, than when he came in. It’s the same idea as being a courteous guest and making the bed you slept in while visiting someone. This is one of those little things I’ve heard and liked enough that I really practice it (Thanks Joe). It’s usually something simple like wiping the area around the sink a little, or pushing all the towels down into the trash so they aren’t over flowing. You can do all these things and still keep your hand intact from other people’s germs – by the way!
Lately, I’ve started to think that my relationships are like public restrooms. I know…it’s a stretch, but stay with me. Every time I leave a friend, parent, or sibling who I’m visiting, I try to leave the relationship better than when I arrived.
In order to do that, we must be willing to communicate well. That usually includes some seriously good listening. I am forced to hear with my ears, but see with their eyes. It comes down to focus doesn’t it? In an article off the Lifescript website it says, “In order to listen we must be able to hear, but in order to truly listen, paying attention becomes paramount.”
The article goes on to list some of our bad habits like walking around, interrupting and thinking about other things. Which of the ‘do not’s’ on the list are you guilty of? Yep – I’ll walk around and listen half way. Rebuttals? Oh ya I am listening – to my own thoughts and how I will respond!
You might also be prepared to be bold and honest. If you have any family or friend relationships where you have different beliefs, this is where you need to start bringing more of yourself into the relationship. I am not talking about debate; I am talking more about truth that lives within your heart.
To move a relationship forward we must be willing to be both a good listener and an honest talker. I’ve spent most my life trying to seek the approval of others. We are all somewhere on that spectrum, somewhere between healthy approval and desperately trying to get it, but at the core of my fear of rejection, was fear of showing them who I really was.
As an adult, I’ve finally taken advantage of the people who promised, “We will love you no matter what.” After trying to hide parts of myself, or gloss over the details about who I really am, I leak a little more honesty into every visit. It doesn’t always go perfectly, but it helps me become more secure in who I really am. In the end, I help people love me more, even if they have nothing to do with it!
To read the entire article you can go to: http://www.lifescript.com/Soul/Self/Growth/How_To_Be_A_Good_Listener.aspx