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"Listening is the greatest gift we can give someone."


Honestly – how often do you find yourself preparing your own response, or simply thinking about something else, when someone is talking to you?  The truth is we are often not listening.  The result – misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations as well as unnecessary hurt feelings.  I invite you to consider the following ideas to reduce miscommunication and to improve your relationships:


  • Accept that NO ONE can read your mind and you do need to state your needs and desires.  Many of us think that our partner, parent, boss, etc., knows us well enough “by now” that they “should know” what we want, need, etc. – not real.   If you don’t say it, no one can know it.  Speak your mind – respectfully and honestly.  It is a great kindness to everyone including you.

  • Get clarification – ask if what you thought you heard is really what was said.  You are also not a mind reader and need to check things out.  This is the only way of knowing what the other person meant and reduces misunderstandings.  Clarifying – a critical piece in communication.

  • Lighten Up!  Everything does not have to be a major issue or battleground.  This follows the “pick your battles” rule in which you step back and consider – how important is this – will it be a critical issue tomorrow in retrospect?  If not – how can we let it go and salvage the time we have now.  Careful – egos come in to play here –  perfect time to remember – do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

  • Notice and acknowledge helping / positive behaviors.  Everyone likes to be appreciated and if you want a behavior to continue, it needs positive reinforcement – i.e. praise!  Be generous in your compliments – often!  It will result in more of those desired behaviors and costs you nothing but a little humility – is it worth it?  I think so.

  • RAOK – Random Acts of Kindness.  Do caring things for others for absolutely no reason than to be kind.  Kindness begets kindness.  Whether with your partner, your kids, at the office – anywhere.  Simple acts of kindness are so much needed in this world today – do your part wherever you can.

  • Laugh!  With your partner, with your colleagues, your kids, your peers – everyone.  Laughter releases endorphins that make us feel good and often illuminates the unnecessary seriousness we place on issues. 

  • On a more personal note:  keep yourself healthy and fit.  Research shows that exercise and physical fitness significantly increases our tolerance to stress and reduces our impulsive response to irritability. 

  • In terms of those closest to us – think about treating those significant people at least as well as you would an acquaintance.  This may sound silly but often we are kinder and warmer to acquaintances than we are to those in our closest circle.


In closing – let’s consider doing our part in making this world a kinder, gentler place.  Finally, I invite you to phone or email me should you or someone you know need some support in making life more manageable.  



Debbie Bauer, LMFT                   


            ~easing life’s journey~

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