Attracting the Love You Want

If you want love, you have to give love and also be willing to receive it. We’ve all heard some version of this truth.  Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher and self-help author put it this way, “To love is to recognize yourself in another.” In other words, love another for their humanness, which includes their imperfections as well as their attributes. If you want sincere, honest love you must learn and practice being this way with others. Think about it, if you’re perpetually snappy and angry with people around you, the odds of attracting the love you want are slim. Think about the people you know who are kind and happy, that have love in their life. They receive the energy they put out in the universe.

Be specific about the kind of love you want. Are you seeking companionship, a lover, a partner for life, or all three rolled into one! Do you want a person who loves travel, or one that prefers to be a homebody? Be honest with yourself on the traits you are looking for. If you want someone in your life who loves nature, join hiking, biking, or kayaking groups. Are you a birder, a theatre lover? Know your own passions and explore groups you can become part of. This way you avoid having to pretend that you are into something you are not. If you don’t like sports, don’t go to a sports bar hoping to meet someone. Be yourself, it is an attractive trait that others will appreciate and be drawn to.

When you do meet someone, if alarms go off in your gut, listen to them. Pay attention to your intuition, your instincts, they exist for a reason. Rather than wasting energy trying to make something work, that you know is not right, let it go. If you meet someone that you thought could be a potential spouse, and it didn’t work out that way, and instead you gained a friend. Allow for the possibility that your intuition has placed you where you need to be. Every relationship holds a lesson. Setting boundaries from the beginning helps clear a path for honesty.

Deal with the past don’t drag it into a new relationship. Nothing destroys a future connection than unresolved issues from your previous relationship/s. Leave your anger, resentment, and bitterness where it belongs, in the past. Try to resolve these issues before you leap into another relationship.

Learn to forgive. Practicing forgiveness begins with yourself. With forgiveness, you soften, become more tolerant of others. This is not to be confused with being a doormat or tolerating abusive behavior, which is not acceptable. Forgiveness sees beyond the immediate, it gets to the core of an issue, or a misunderstanding. It holds life and love lessons. Forgiveness gives you the freedom to not expect perfection of yourself and another. Love is rarely perfect all the time. Communicate your needs honestly. Talk openly about your feelings to alleviate confusion and misinterpretations.

Above all, learn to love yourself. It is almost impossible to attract love when you don’t like or love yourself. This is not narcissism. Self-love is about respecting yourself; it is realizing that ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. It is knowing who you are as a human being. Narcissism depends on the constant praise of others to make them feel worthwhile. Know yourself, spend time cultivating your passions and interests.

It is possible to draw love to yourself, like a bee to a flower’s nectar, you can attract the love you want and deserve.

Let People Know You Love Them

The old saying that actions speak louder than words, holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This may come easy to you or you may struggle with showing your love, and if this is the case, you are not alone. Previous hurts, relationship experiences, and past patterns of how love was modeled to you as a child, all play a role in how you express love to those you care about  The good news is, by giving love you receive it back in ways you never expected.

Rather than focusing on how much you are loved, shift your awareness to how much you express love. This is not to say that you neglect yourself, it is rather like looking at the glass half full or half empty. Try looking at the ways people express their love to you. A kind word, patience when you are frustrated, listening when you are happy or sad. In other words, being there for you. Use these to express your love back to them. Then try cultivating appreciation for the small things instead of expecting grandiose gifts as a token of someone’s love. Not that gifts are inherently loving or unloving they are merely objects, that over time fade or lose their appeal. Love that is sincere gives you fond memories and strength.

Show your love by expression. Let loved ones know you are thinking about them, not just on special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays). Text, write a letter, send a card, call simply to tell them you miss them, or love them or was hoping their day was going well. It is the little thoughtful things that can reassure the people you love. If you are in a long- term relationship or marriage, buy a random card, cook a dinner complete with candlelight. Take the kids for an afternoon so your partner can have some needed alone time. Take the time to think of the needs of those you love. This doesn’t mean that you can fulfill their every whim or desire, you can show your concern for another without it being unhealthy, manipulative, or co-dependent.

Ask them about their day, their desires, their pain, their passions, and then sit back and listen. A big part of showing love is listening to your beloved. Think of how you feel when you are not heard. You may feel neglected, ignored, unimportant, these are not positive feelings that nurture a loving relationship. When you listen with your heart, you hear with your heart. You begin to understand more fully. Ask what you can do to help. More than likely, knowing that you are there to support through active listening is enough.

If you have a concern or a hurt feeling, express yourself. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to resentment, which will not help you show love. If you are fearful about something, be honest, let go of your pride and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. When you are transparent with your emotions, it is a living breathing way of showing the person you love that you trust them with your heart. You trust them with your fears, your dreams, your disappointments. And it is a powerful example that your loved one can reciprocate, letting go of pretenses and being real. This is the fertile ground for growing love.

Let your loved one know when you miss them, whether it is physical yearning (maybe one of you has been traveling for work or you live apart from each other) or something more ethereal. Maybe you miss laughing with this person, or riding bikes together or having sex, let them know what it is that you miss and not in an accusatory way. Simply say, I miss…

Tell people you love you are grateful for them. Whether this is a sibling, a parent, a lover, let them know you appreciate them and why. Be sincere and truthful. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

How to Adapt to Change in a Relationship: 3 Tips to Help You Thrive



There is no time like the present to learn to manage change in a relationship, and this year has been riddled with changes (social, economic, technological, and personal) that have been challenging to say the least.

All changes impact a relationship. Learning to duck and dive and adjust when life happens will help you be less fearful when change comes knocking on your door.

Like every great building, relationships need a strong foundation from which to grow. If your relationship is already tumultuous, working through change can be challenging. Building a base of trust in your relationship early on is the way to go. If this hasn’t happened, now is a perfect time to start.

Try some of the following tips to build a strong foundation:

  • Talk through issues and disagreements 
  • Listen to each other with curiosity
  • Be kind
  • Be honest (even if the truth is not what your partner wants to hear)

Remember, love is powerful; it can endure. And most important to building enduring trust is to mean what you say and say what you mean. 

Be Extra Patient During Stressful Changes

During a move, a new baby, a death in the family, or a new job, lather on patience extra thick. Try a few of these tips to help:  

Each of you may want to talk about how or why you react the way you do, talk about the hurts, fears, and insecurities that shape your reactions. This alone can help relieve a lot of the stress. 

Stay Physical With Each Other

This doesn’t mean just having sex. Try some of the following tips:  

  • Hold hands
  • Snuggle
  • Touch each other as a physical symbol (you’re present and ready to do the work.)

Often change can produce resentment, which can bleed into the bedroom. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing one another’s bodies, let your guard down, and re-connect.

If you are both spiritual or religious, try the following: 

  • Pray together
  • Meditate together
  • Do yoga together
  • Share inspirational gems with your partner that speak to you

Send kind texts, remind your partner that you love them. Life as a couple is sweeter when you know your partner has your back, that you are not alone and that your loved one is rooting for you in and outside of the relationship.

Do Something Familiar Together

Leap off the overly stressed and serious bandwagon to find the time to get back to the essence of your relationship with your partner. Find a thread of familiarity you both enjoy. Try these following tips:  

  • Something simple like coffee together in the morning
  • Talk about funny memories 
  • Look through old photos together

Change will come whether you are ready or not. However, learning to deal with it together will make life richer while deepening your relationship and being better prepared for the inevitable changes to come.

Click reply and let me know how you and your partner will begin to adapt and change.

How to Stop Self-Sabotaging

We all at one time have self-doubt that clouds our ability to accomplish a goal. When self-doubt becomes a chronic repetitive pattern that dictates our behavior and reactions, it morphs into a self-sabotaging way of living that holds us back from success.  Whether it has to do with relationships, finances, or emotions, there is a way to stop the self-sabotaging and begin to enjoy a more positive, healthy, hopeful life.

First of all, you have to be conscious that you are sabotaging your success with negative thinking.  Recognizing an issue is always the preliminary part of the journey toward change.  Do you find yourself asking why me?  Why do my relationships fail, or why do financial opportunities slip from my fingers.  Notice your thinking patterns that influence behaviors and choices.  Do you sometimes feel that you are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty/handsome enough, not worthy enough?

Once you acknowledge the thinking, you can start to understand where it came from.  An overly critical parent or teacher, a first love that was unfaithful, childhood poverty, poor self-esteem, health issues, and social pressures. Are you living in a community that devalues diversity or that is suffocating people?  Do you have realistic expectations or are you always demanding you be the best at everything or nothing at all?

Whatever the cause of your negative thinking, you can cut the ties that bind you, releasing your mind from useless recrimination.  Begin to replace old tapes with new mantras that help you be positive about your future about yourself. Read self-help books or listen to uplifting messages that connect you with your personal power.   For example, rather than repeating I’ll never begin to practice saying I can I will. Stop comparing yourself to others, you’re uniquely wired, you have different experiences that have left a footprint on your psyche.  The wonderful news is, you are dynamic and capable of change, we all are. Realistic positive thinking can be just as habitual as negative, so why not give it a go.


Implement a new plan that is doable. One that will lead you in the direction of your goal and give you a taste of what it feels like to succeed.  Rather than trying to lose 100 pounds in two months, give yourself small increments that are manageable.  If you want to finish school, gain more financial freedom; make a budget both for your time and money.  Where can you carve out time to study, or where can you cut back on an expense?  These don’t have to be grandiose changes; they can simply be subtle shifts.

Perhaps you’re sabotaging relationships, pushing people away, or not letting loved ones know how you really feel.  Practice standing up for yourself, say no if that is what you really mean.  Not everyone has to be your life-long friend, lover, or partner. Trust your intuition. Don’t tell negative people your dreams and aspirations, these are sacred, share them only with those you trust.  Imagine handing over your small baby to a mean spirited person, think of your goals as that infant.

If there is something you always wanted to do, such as travel or write a book or play an instrument.  Place these desires on the top of your priority list then begin to take these dreams seriously.  Maybe you are stuck with a job you don’t like, or you have children in elementary school that demand a lot of your time.  You can still live a fulfilling life.  In fact, it is a wonderful example for children to see parents struggling to reach a goal.  Reality is, nothing in life ever comes prepackaged in the mail.  There is a process to manifesting your dreams and visions.

Find small successes, begins to build confidence that you can indeed stop sabotaging. You can learn to think differently to be a newer version of you.  Sometimes you have to put on armor, especially when you feel fearful.  It is perfectly normal to be afraid, learn to push past it; fear is only an emotion, it is not going to physically harm you. Remember that you can say good-bye to fear when it’s stemming from negative thoughts.  Say, I am afraid, but I am following through with this goal anyway.  Eventually over time, successes will far outweigh failures.  Give yourself time, attainable small step goals, continue practicing new positive behaviors that lead to positive thinking and toss the chains of self-sabotage away for good.





Revving Up Intimacy in Your Relationship


One of the definitions of intimacy is a close familiarity or friendship, closeness. Intimacy is not simply about sex, although that can certainly help. But sex alone does not always lead to intimacy. There are several small but powerful things you can do to increase closeness between you and your partner.

Be communicative, talk to each other on a regular basis. Have conversations without agendas attached to them. Listen to your partner simply for listening sake. Practice opening up to each other without judgement or trying to solve a problem. When neither of you are trying to persuade or convince the other, it is easier to listen and communicate. These kinds of conversations do wonders for the relationship, it teaches you to enjoy talking simply for conversation’s sake. It builds on the friendship aspect of your relationship as well. Talk about whatever it is you feel like, a childhood memory, an idea you have for a movie, a book you just read and loved. Enjoy conversating with each other as if you were still getting to know each other.

Rather than planning grandiose get-a-ways, fold intimacy into the fabric of your day to day lives. For example, one day a week you dedicate spending time together at your favorite restaurant or cocktail bar. No friends, no family, and no kids, just the two of you. Or on Sunday afternoons you take a hike together, or ride bikes. The point is to do something enjoyable that gives you both time to let go and have fun together. Sure weekend get-a-ways and vacations are wonderful and build a temporary intimacy, but once they are over, it can leave you feeling empty emotionally. By doing little things more often you sustain the intimacy and build on it.

Laugh as often as you can, taking yourselves too seriously sabotages intimacy. Humor not only helps both of your moods, it also helps thwart off arguments. Laughter is healthy and a positive way to create intimacy because it makes both of you feel good! It diffuses differences and has a positive effect on your mind and body. Watch a comedy together, share funny incidentals that happened throughout your day. Research has shown that Couples who laugh together build stronger bonds and cope better with stresses and conflicts in their relationship.

Celebrate your history together, the good and bad memories that helped shape your relationship. Take time to appreciate all that you have been through and to remember those wonderful memories that warm your heart. Memories can be a hilarious source of humor, recalling those funny moments when you didn’t know each other well.

Get physical, not just in bed but in other nonsexual ways. When you’re sitting on the couch together watching a movie, snuggle in. Hold hands while you’re strolling the boulevard or walking the beach. Touch is a powerful tool for intimacy, make it part of your relationship. Take a couples yoga class, give each other massages.

And then of course there is sex! Pleasing your partner builds intimacy. Maybe try having a sex session in the middle of the day, be playful and let yourselves enjoy each other’s bodies. As I said earlier, sex alone is not the end all be all to intimacy, especially if the only time you feel close is in bed. Examine all the other wonderful ways you can explore and enjoy each other while you create that sweet closeness that is irreplaceable.

How to Keep Your Relationship Alive – Working from Home 

With more and more people working from home – tension can creep in, you may feel the spark in your relationship has fizzled as you struggle for space and alone time. Do you find you and your partner quarreling over minor concerns, or maybe just the sight of your partner is beginning to annoy you? When there’s too much imposed togetherness, this can happen.
Here are a few ideas to help you cope with cramped quarters and finding that sweet spot of balance in your work and personal relationship.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss your needs and work out a schedule that accommodates both of you. For example, you want to join a yoga class at 7 am, ask your partner to handle the kids while you attend every Monday and Wednesday, in the living room. The other days, he/she gets the space at a time that works for both of you. In other words, negotiate your space. We all need alone time; some need it more than others. When you talk about schedules, avoid being vague, it will help. Tell your partner exactly what you want, “I need time to work on my project alone for four hours a week.” No one is a mind reader, so be specific to avoid confusion and frustration.

Make having fun together a priority – Working side by side or in the same house doesn’t count as quality time together. Schedule time spent together doing things you enjoy, walking, dancing, bike riding, or even cooking together while music is playing on your phone. Rekindle on a regular basis, if schedules are tight, even every other week will work. Think of your time and energy as an investment in your relationship. Relationships need attention, like a bank account you can’t keep taking money out and expect to thrive. Imagine your life without your partner and be grateful for their gifts; remember to laugh together.

Give each other space – everyone needs that, maybe one of you needs it more than the other. It is the flip side of spending quality time together so honor it and get creative with alone time. Go for a drive, go to the store by yourself, take turns with letting each other have the place to themselves. All relationships, even great ones, revolve around space and togetherness, both are essential. If your partner says they need alone time, recognize that it has nothing to do with you. Part of giving each other space also means not phoning, not texting. When someone needs space, they need time to allow their minds to wander and imagine, texting interrupts that process and can make your partner feel as if they didn’t get the quality alone time they craved, which may cause resentment. No calls, no text, no interrupting the space time matrix.

Stay connected with friends – give them a call, plan a Zoom coffee or happy hour. Keep reaching out to people that you love and who are part of your life. They are precious to you, let your partner do the same when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family. A pandemic is a great time to rediscover letter writing or sending emails to those you miss, let them know you’re thinking of them. Continuing to have meaningful relationships outside of your primary one will allow you to feel as if there is more space in it.

Keep the romance alive, make house dates. Maybe dinner and a movie, or dinner and a lovemaking session. Or have a night where you reminisce and share memories. This pandemic won’t last forever, but your relationships can.

Living with Unresolved Conflicts

There are times in life when a disagreement is so raw and dividing, there is no immediate resolution.  You may feel that all you want to do is run in the opposite direction, bury your head in the proverbial sand, or never see the person again. Your anger and pain are deep and uncomfortable. Whether the conflict stemmed from a colleague, a friend, or a close family member, learning how to deal with unresolved conflicts will help you regain your inner peace and perhaps a sense of resolution.

Here are a few suggestions that may help.
For many people, having a disagreement is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and for some traumatizing. Avoiding conflicts with others does not mean you are living without inner conflict thoughStifling your emotions or sidestepping the truth about your feelings is as unhealthy as perpetual hothead behavior. Truth is, everyone has the right to their opinions, feelings, and decisions. It is how you express yourself that matters. As you begin to deconstruct a conflict, look at your responsibility. Take a sincere and truthful gaze inward to see where you may have contributed to the discord. Conflict management involves both parties being honest with themselves and each other; exploring what has blocked them from finding common ground.

For example, you have a colleague at work that infuriates you. They nitpick about everything, and never acknowledge your contributions. And to top it off, you may not like the person because they remind you of someone that you had a bad experience with in your past.  Part of being honest with yourself is teasing out the real issue(s). You don’t have to like everyone, however, you can learn to understand where your actions are creating conflict and how better to deal with them. Talk with the person, point out that you appreciate their point of view, however you also need to be recognized for the work you do. Expand the thread of agreement, continue to look for common ground no matter how slight.

When you know that you have done what you can to resolve a conflict and it persists despite your good faith efforts, it’s time to let go. You have that choice. To let the anger, the resentment, the hurt go, because you know in your heart you have done your due diligence. Letting go takes time. Be patient with yourself. Use the tools of visualization, and meditation to see yourself moving on. Letting go and avoidance feel very different. Avoidance is inaction, denial of what has happened. Surrendering is an action, a conscious choice and one you have decided on after you have tried your best to resolve the conflict.

Empathy for yourself and others plays a huge role in conflict resolution. Both parties will want to actively engage in a solution. When people have empathy, they can put themselves in the others’ shoes. They can use understanding to put things in perspective. That is not always the case. The good news is you can end the struggle for yourself. If the other person wants to carry a grudge after you have made an earnest attempt, It’s not your issue any longer.

If it is a close family member or lover, that you’re in conflict with, it may take a bit longer to let go and move on. You can limit your time spent with that person and set boundaries of what you will and will not tolerate. You can’t control anyone’s behavior except your own. 

Releasing an unresolved conflict will help lighten your load, free up your emotions, and allow you to move forward. You have the choice.

Changing Your LifeStyle


Changing your lifestyle can bring a sense of excitement, like moving to Florence Italy, or some other place you’ve fantasized about. Or it can be as subtle as deciding to cook vegetarian meals. Regardless, switching things up takes concerted effort to make it real.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the changes your passionate about.

Be clear with your vision, what is it that you want to change? Detail it, color it in, avoid vague ambiguous goals. Being specific will help you visualize and embolden your plan. Oh, and yes, have a Plan! Flopping about willy-nilly without some kind of road map will get you nowhere.

Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that will encourage your tenacity. For example, you want to move to a new location. Decide when (in two months, a year), be realistic with the cost, then start setting aside your move money.

Whenever you do something new, out of the ordinary (big or small) you are going feel that pang only change can bring. Change is often hard, even when it’s fun. Let’s face it, It takes effort to do something different. Shake hands with this, and soon enough that discomfort disappears. Changing your life may be the most challenging and uncomfortable thing you’ll ever do butin the end, it’s worth it. Marriage, children, opening a new business, taking on a new job, going back to college, relocating are all wonderfully exciting. They are what you’ve dreamed of…but they still take some adjusting to.

Think about what it is that has held you back, then move onward. Pull out those negative tapes from the past and toss them in the trash. You ARE capable of change, of achieving dreams, of becoming a new you.

Set timelines that will keep you on track. Be diligent about them and again be clear. Rather than saying, “sometime in the spring I’ll get more work” rephrase it to a specific positive: “In one month I’ll have a side job that will move me towards my goal of making more money.” Make concrete time frames and stick to them. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Be prepared to adjust when a wrench is tossed in the mix. When you get tired or derailed, instead of drowning yourself in negativity, go with the flow. Acknowledge the hiccup, the slow down, the block and keep going. Read stories of empowerment, talk to others who have overhauled their lifestyle, listen to how they got through the storms of doubt.

Keep reminders, pictures, mantras, anything that roots you onward to your new location, your new life. If traveling more is the goal, post pictures of the places you plan to go. Listen to cultural music that inspires you for the journey. Read and educate yourself on whatever it is you are embarking on. Whether it is changing your diet or learning how to sail, learn as much as you can.

Get your spouse, your friends, your family on board. Remember though, silence the naysayers, do not ask their advice, they are all too eager to impose their fear and trepidation. But it is not yours.

Reward yourself when you’ve climbed a wrung, gotten closer to the finish line. Celebrating the small victories along the way, gives you incentive to keep going. Tony Robbins has said, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Continue creating the life you want. No one can do it for you, and you have what it takes, just do it!

Keeping Open to Love


Have you ever met one of those people that no matter what life tosses their way they remain loving and kind while you find yourself getting annoyed?  Admit it, there are times in our day-to-day life when obstacles or challenges get the better or us. You may be exhausted from a newborn keeping you up all night or upset over an incident at work, or sad about a recent loss.  Whatever the cause, during these times, it’s easy to shut the security gate to your heart and retreat from feeling. Life holds many promises and disappointments, how then do you navigate through the ups and downs while keeping an open loving heart. Is it even possible?  Yes, but for most of us who don’t float about with angel wings, it’s a process, a choice, and it doesn’t come without work and a lot of practice.

First, begin to notice what is your go to emotion when challenges present themselves; fear, anger, jealousy, or perhaps you simply pick up the rug, sweep it under, and don’t deal with the issue at all.  Bringing awareness to how you react (in other words your patterns) is essential to redirecting them.  For example, if you get bad news about a promotion or plans change, or your partner is cranky do you immediately get mad or do you lapse into a panic?  Make no judgement on how you respond, however if you want to change, taking an honest look is the first step.

Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. When you reflect on the “whys” of your behavior, be kind to yourself. Why do I always react with anger or fear? Perhaps that was the model you got as a child, or perhaps you were oblivious to your emotional patterns.  Then say to yourself, I am afraid or angry or hurt or jealous, but I don’t have to be.  After all, we have a choice in how we want to move through life.  Remind yourself that you have the right to be forgiving and loving towards yourself.  Being kinder to yourself will help you be kinder and more loving to others.  Knowing you are as worthy as anyone of love, allows you to release fear that in turn allows you to let go of anger (which largely comes from being afraid).

Communicate your emotions, say “I feel angry, I feel afraid,” get them out on the table rather than holding them where they wreak havoc on your relationship with yourself and others. Being truthful creates an atmosphere that leaves room for dialog. Which prevents us from making up a false reality (such as why does that person hate me, when they don’t).   If there has been a misunderstanding, dealing with it will open the channels for reconciliation. Yes, you want to be a loving person, but sometimes you immediate reaction is just the opposite.  You fail.  Mistakes are lessons in humility.  Admit when you’re wrong and give a sincere heartfelt, sorry.

Practice, practice, practice, life will give you ample opportunity for this.  Use each one to shift your choice of emotions and take your time.  Try counting to ten before you react, then learn to come from a place of love and understanding.  Once you begin doing this, it becomes habit forming and will not go unnoticed by those around you.  Love will flourish in your friendships, in yourself, and have a profound effect on the way you live your life.  There will be less frazzled angry moments because you have become a person that lives with an open heart and chooses to lead with love.


Active Listening Is the Key to Communication

Do not listen with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand. —Anonymous

 Listening is somewhat like an art form, and as in music or dance you only become proficient with practice. There are countless meanings assigned to the act of listening. You can listen with your heart, you can listen to your intuition, you can listen to mantras of religion or stories you’ve been told since childhood. The listening I am referring to is about how we listen to ourselves and others, which all of the above influence. Without sincere listening, communication breaks down, misunderstandings flare, and a sense of dread and loneliness can cause you to feel frustrated or anxious.

To lessen the problems non listening creates, here a few ways to develop and enhance your ability to listen. When you are truly listening to another person, find the takeaway. In other words, look to understand what that person is trying to say? Avoid reading into or interpreting, tease away your own biases. If what they are saying is ambiguous, murky or makes no sense to you, simply ask for clarification, or mirror to them what you feel their message is.

When you are actively listening, you will more than likely have questions, hold them until the person is finished. Often many of us are too eager to spew out our response, or wisdom, or opinion that we forget to fully hear what the other person is saying. If you find yourself preoccupied with focusing and crafting what you think, you are not listening. Or if you realize that your reply has nothing to do with what the other person is saying, you were not paying attention. Watch professional interviews, you can always spot an interviewer who is not listening by their response, it will be in left field regardless that the statement was right and center.

Naturally it is easier to listen to people you share common ground with, it is difficult and challenging to listen to those you don’t. Let’s put this in the realm of relationships. Your partner may have been raised with strict rules and there was little wiggle room for self exploration. You on the other hand had a family that encouraged independent thinking. You fall in love, but after the honeymoon phase, you find you are arguing over just about everything. More than likely, it is a lack of listening to each other…listening without hearing. Whew, that is a tough one. However, when you begin to practice real listening, you can not only muddle through tough conversations, you may actually begin to see resolutions. When you let down the defenses and say to yourself, this isn’t about me, it is about the other you can learn to listen with love, empathy, and a deeper understanding that leads to connection.

Spiritual leader Ram Dass has a plethora of quotes that remind us that listening requires going beyond our ego. “We are fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.” It is in the quiet recess of your consciousness that the truth or impact of words reverberates. Words themselves are simply nouns, verbs, adverbs, tools with which to communicate. yet somehow, they can cut us deeply or be profoundly motivating. When you think about how people without hearing communicate it is interesting because they still use language just not necessarily words. If you have ever traveled to a country where English or your mother tongue is not spoken, you find that you can still communicate through gestures, although the risk for misconstruing someone’s intentions is much higher. The fact is, words are only part of communicating with another.

A huge part of learning to listen to others is listening to yourself. If you are constantly filling your mind and energy with some diversion, you cannot hear your inner thoughts or desires or spiritual guidance. Think about a time that a teacher, a friend, a mentor said something that resonated with you so deeply it changed your life forever. It was that time you spent meditating or pondering the words or intentions of the person that shared them with you that allowed you to see the truth and significance to them.

Learning active listening will change the way you communicate forever, and it will enhance your relationships and confidence