“If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.” ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
When talking about positive affirmations in relationships, I think it’s important to learn how to communicate all this positivity in an effective way.
Skilled listening allows you to receive information and understand what your partner is communicating. This creates an environment of trust that will allow your partner to open up and share more of themselves.
Here’s how it works:
1. Pay attention
When your partner is sharing something, stop what you are doing, put away the things that are distracting you, and look at them. Turn off the TV, step away from your computer, put your phone down, tell the kids you don’t want to be interrupted, whatever you need to do. Remind yourself that what you are doing can wait, because these are the moments when a quality relationship is built. It’s your connection moment.
2. Really Listen
Listening can be hard, but it’s part of knowing and connecting with your partner.
Try not to interrupt them while they’re talking, even if what they’re saying is exciting or upsetting. And being quiet while focusing entirely on what you want to say next isn’t much better. Try to put your own thoughts aside and really hear what they’re saying when they talk.
By doing this you’ll know how to respond when they’re done, and chances are your responses will be better, because you’ll understand what they’re saying more fully. Listening will tell your partner that you care in a way that nothing else will.
Matching your emotions and body language with your partner is a form of mirroring back what is being expressed. It’s a way to be on the same page as your partner while telling them that you understand what they’re saying and are with them.
You know how good it feels when you’re super excited about something and the other person is just as excited as you are, maybe even jumping up and down with you. It makes it all that more meaningful. It’s a bummer when all you get is a glance and the lifeless response, “That’s nice.”
You may disagree with what’s being said, and that’s OK. Your goal is to connect and help your partner feel understood. If you become critical, judgmental, or run a commentary on how their idea could be different, it will turn the experience into a negative one, and you’ll lose the moment. Those five positive moments you worked so hard for will be lost. Sometimes being heard and understood is all it takes. You just need to be there.
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou