by JENNIFER GOODSON, MA, LMHC
Communication is a beautiful experience when we are in tune and present. It is an avenue to connection, developing intimacy with each step. We communicate to be heard and understood and reciprocate this process with others. Relationships blossom when we lead with active listening – listening to understand and not being too quick to respond. Connection moments provide a safe place through deep listening and leading with love.
A safe place for communication opens doors for trust as we put away judgment. We are taking time to know each other, learning to accept one another, and embracing endless possibilities of intimacy. Safely, we place each soul in the utmost regard as we tune in, showing the other we respect and see them.
When we are quick with a response, we lose sight of the other person(s) in front of us, and it becomes only about us. Selfishness (self-centeredness) is the killer of most relationships. One always wants to be heard, responding quickly without thinking of the other’s feelings, or is always on the defense. This extinguishes intimacy and growth in relationships. These defense mechanisms create isolation for those who walk around in fear of vulnerability. Loneliness comes in heavy, with no one else to blame but the carrier. It takes the willingness to die to self, losing the need to always be right in a situation, or the need for control.
Some may begin to listen and immediately go into a “fix it” mode, giving their opinions, or “you should have or could have done this or that” voice. While in some cases, problem-solving may be the request, 98% of the time, one only wants to be heard by the other with the heart of intent, listening, interest, and compassion. Somehow, along with life’s comings and goings, we all have lost the heart of communication. However, it is easy to get back into step.
When we practice deep listening and love speech, we are practicing openness, walking in growth and healing with the other, and embracing all of the one in front of us. In the moment of true heart-led communication, we are pursuing purpose, bringing together our life experiences and creating a place of wonder. This moment is addictive; thus, genuine friendships and relationships are born. This is where we feel we can be our true selves. Transparent with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful with another.
So, how do we get into step and create a safe place of deep listening and leading with love?
Begin by practicing mindfulness by listening without a need to respond. Lead with compassion, not judgment. Stay in tune by keeping eye contact and placing all distractions aside. Be present. Fully present.
Steady your mindset on one purpose: seeing the individual before you. Even if what the other person says brings up negative emotions, maintain purposeful compassion.
Reminding yourself the goal is intimacy, vulnerability, trust building, and relationship strength. Not the need to be correct. Later in the conversation, you will have your chance to share. This practice keeps respect in the room, which in turn brings reciprocation, encouraging you to build strong, lasting relationships. Lead with compassion and intentional listening!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Goodson, MA, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor with an office in Winter Haven, FL. She holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For more information, visit www.pathwaycounselingservice.com.