Have we lost the art of listening?

We want to fix. Tell people what to do. Give all the answers. Talk over one another. Repeat sound bites we heard as evidence we listened to the news.

Rarely do we listen, really listen.

The magic words are “Tell me more.” And then to close our mouths and hear the other person.

If you have typical arguments that could, by now, be your family script, change and you could change that narrative by changing how you respond. That requires listening well enough to reflect back with empathy so the person knows they have been heard.

I’ve had to work at this. And I still, do.

So what do I mean by reflective listening? Here’s an example.

“I no longer want to take my medication. I feel so much better and I hate the side effects.”

Say something like, “It sounds like you are tired of taking daily medication and how it makes you feel.”

That makes the other person feel heard. Often their response is calmer and the person less likely to become volatile. We don’t feed the emotional tsunami. You can follow their response with I feel phrases.

“I feel nervous when you don’t take your meds. I remember what happened last time when you bought so many toaster ovens. It made me hurt to watch you suffer.”

You know what those hot topics are so practiced how you would respond. It all starts with hearing the other person out.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

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