Listen before it’s too Late!

 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

 

It is an enlightening view, sitting in my chair in my office as a mental health counselor. I am honored to sit with clients as they share about their lives and their relationships and I see themes unfold.

We have ended the year and are into the New Year.  As I look ahead at new beginnings, it reminds me of one of the most common themes. When working with couples, I notice that, for most, by the time they enter my office, it’s too late.

couples

Too often one of them attempted continually to communicate with the other, without being heard. Sadly, I watch their last attempt to keep the marriage together. The partner, let’s say the man, who has not really heard, but has listened as if she was nagging or on a rampage over something, finally understands. It is too late now for him to realize that what she was saying was important. So important, that the marriage is now over. I see him groveling and trying to make sense of it all. In the safety of another person (me) she says, “I’m sorry, but it is just too late.”

Many of us have ended relationships before the New Year. I remember myself, many years ago, sitting outside Nordstroms, having coffee with my lover on December 29th. I said, “I am sorry, but it’s over.” This was difficult to say and it was painful. I had felt though, that what I said over and over, didn’t matter and I was “pushing the river,” in order to create a change for us. It didn’t work. Once I was honest and ended the relationship; although painful, it was also exhilarating.

When I am with clients and they are suffering over a relationship, I often ask, “when did you first know this was not the right situation for you?” More than I would like to hear, they say, “in the beginning.” If not, they knew years before they decided to make a change.

Whether it be a love relationship, a work relationship or a family situation, “when you begin to lose your voice, your self-esteem, your sense of personal power; it is time to make some kind of a shift.”


Slowing Down and Being Present

“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
― Ken KeseyOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

  

Focusing on relationships this year makes me aware of how many relationships we have in a given day. After a great massage (relationship) and feeling tired and hungry, I met with the seamstress (relationship) who is making the pants to go under my Shalwar Kameez. This is the dress I will wear to the wedding in India on February 3rd

India 2010 094

We talked fabric, which we both love, and although I felt like I was in a big hurry, because I was focusing on relationships this year, I chose to be more present. I slowed down, conversed and listened to all she had to say. In the past, I would have been short, quick, and focused on getting the task done and getting out the door. I really enjoyed being attentive and learning about her business and also realized how pleasant it was to hear her talk with the fabric store employees, who knew her well. I could see she had developed some connective relationships with them as they laughed and shared with each other.

This shift in perception, to slow down, listen, and be present can be life changing. If you to are too busy to connect and be present to yourself and others, join with me in this new adventure!


Love

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Laozi

 

When talking about relationships, love is in the forefront. Close your eyes and focus in your heart and feel who it is that fills your heart. Allow memories and images to come up that fill you with love.

This is a practice that can increase your happiness, lighten your mood and shift your attitude. Isn’t it amazing how much we can shift what we are feeling through a simple image of those we love?

Today would be a good day to reach out to a loved one. You can make a call, text or email them, visit them or send them a gift. Our relationships are sacred and creating a memory with them can last forever.

When you cannot be with a loved one for some reason, you can also focus in your heart, bring your consciousness up out of the top of your head, up into the heavens. Imagine the person standing there with you and send love to the person through your heart. This can heal a wounded relationship and bring peace to one who is missing you. You may be surprised when they call you suddenly!