Learn how to LISTEN even when you are angry or convinced you are right. Learn how to say what needs to be said that’s in your head and heart.
Over and over again I find myself being moved when I hear another tell me their experience. Like yesterday, I went to a new dentist who I didn’t want to like. My beloved dentist of years had retired and sold his practice to Dr. J.
Little by little as I shared my negative thoughts with a patient in the waiting room and listened to her, and then listened to Eileen as she cleaned my teeth, I saw my closed, fixed opinion begin to soften and open. And finally I meet Dr. J. He is shockingly lovely, open and smart. He is the first dentist who will listen to me talk about my health food toothpastes that have me coming for teeth cleanings every six months instead of the typical three-month visit.
Take the first step: learn how to put your feelings into words and share. Learn how to “for real” listen.
Here’s an exercise for you to develop your sharing and listening muscles.
An Exercise: Sharing Appreciations and Resentments
1. A speaks her appreciations to B. B listens and doesn’t interrupt. A gives concrete examples, e.g. when I asked you to turn the computer off and you did, I really appreciated that. A gives a concrete example for every appreciation. Maximum time–3 minutes.
2. B speaks her appreciations to A. Again, very concrete examples. A listens, hopefully with head and heart and does not interrupt.
3. A speaks her resentments, once again using concrete examples. B listens, no interruptions.
4. B shares resentments while A listens.
Do this for a short period of time—3 minutes each maximum.
At first you are practicing speaking and listening. There is no responding. When you have developed a muscle, you can respond if you want to after the other person has shared. No discussion just a simple response for no more than 1 minute.
This is a powerful exercise. In the end you do not have to agree. You may really disagree. However, if you’re listening with your head, heart and body you will most likely be affected; you and the other will find your authentic way.
Dr. Lynda Klau
Founder and Director of
Life Unlimited: The Center for Human Possibility