The Key To Improving Your Relationships

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The Key To Improving Your Relationships
It's as easy as listening to what your partner is saying.

The best relationship advice I can give is about making the effort to truly understanding each other. Most of us want to be listened to and understood, but do we really listen to ourselves and to others? This is a real skill that can be learned and developed over time. It occurs most frequently and most effectively when we set time aside to really tune in to each other or, in meditation, to ourselves.

To gain the felt sense of being listened to and heard, it helps if the person doing the listening can paraphrase or reflect back in their own words what they heard. It's a stretch for most people to see the world from another's perspective. This is not about agreeing but understanding. This is not where we try to convince the other person to see it from our perspective. We need to have the view that we are both right. Neither of us is wrong we just have different points of view. We just say "I hear you saying ... "

This is a process where we take turns. I listen to you with the hope that you will also listen to me. This is not the time where we give each other feedback or advice. We need to resist giving advice until we have confirmation that we understood the other and have their permission to do so. Unsolicited advice can feel very offensive. As Stephen Covey said and his book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: "Seek first to understand, then be understood."

Being a good listener helps if we're also curious about the other person. We can demonstrate this by asking open-ended questions. These are questions that can't be answered with a yes or no.

Not only do we want to be heard, we want to be understood. We want to be validated. We want to know that we make sense to the other person, that our logic is understood. They don't need to agree with us, but they just need to let us know that they can understand our logic and point of view. We can say "What you are saying makes sense because ... " Knowing your past and/or your hopes and dreams for the future, I can understand you at a deeper level. Keep Reading ...

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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