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The Key to Successful Relationships
by Michele Germain, LCSW
Relationships can be the most difficult and joyful part of your life. You cannot avoid them unless you never get out of bed in the morning and sometimes not even then. You will find yourself interfacing with others almost immediately each day. Due to the complex multiple roles you have in your life this can be plentiful. On an average day you could be talking to your husband, wife, co-workers, children, siblings, friends, parents, our children teachers, your significant other, your boss, the grocery clerk and at the end of the day it could be a telecommunication caller.
One of the most important skills that you need in any and all of these relationships is listening. Better listening skills will allow you to create a more harmonious relationship where respect and cooperation are more likely to occur.
So ask yourself now… How well do I really listen to others? How well do I listen to myself? Can I be still and quiet enough to really listen? Or do I feel restless when there is silence and so I start talking right away? Here are some tips on developing better listening skills.
The second part of the skill is learning to reflect back what you heard the person saying. Paraphrasing and repeating back what you heard allows the person to know you have been listening. It keeps clarity in conversation and allows for overall better communication. This is also a skill that requires some practice. Here are a few tips.
Whether you are in contact with your children, boss, husband, or wife or significant others these tools are valuable. For the next week or so try to exercise these new skills. Observe what happens when you listen and respond in an empathic manner instead of with advise, opinion or judgments. Make a note of the new interaction and compare it with your old way of listening or not listening. Observe their manner; are they calmer, more appreciate? What do you notice?
Michele Germain, LCSW, author of The Jill Principle, published by Llewellyn Worldwide, has a master degree in Social Worker from Wayne State University and is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker and Marriage Family Therapist in California. She is a Certified Bioenergetic Analyst, offering an approach that that resolves the emotional pain remaining in the body, increasing the individuals well being and capacity for pleasure. She conducts workshops and seminars on a variety of mental health topics and life changing issues. She has appeared on radio, cable television and in print media, and has lectured aboard major cruise ship lines such as the Pearl and Royal Caribbean.. More information on her work can be found at www.thejillprinciple.com.