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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

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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