One Trait to Make Good Communication Possible

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“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” ― Alan Greenspan

Take a minute to read that quote again and let it sink in. It’s so true – good communication can be quite challenging and often elusive. So how can we get our point across? How can we strengthen our relationships and build trust with those we love?

The way I see it, the most important and impactful thing we can do is:

                       Listen without judgement

Easier said than done, huh? Think about it, though. Communication is a two-way street. If one person is talking, someone else has to be listening. Most of the time we may look like we are listening. We lean in and nod our heads, but in reality, we are thinking about what we want to say next. We can’t wait for the other person to shut up so we can make our point.

So, the next time you truly want to have an effective conversation, LISTEN. Once you can do that, it actually becomes a conversation. One where each person shares their views and opinions without apprehension. A conversation where you can state your message clearly without fear of being judged. It is soooo hard. One trick I use is to lightly bite my tongue to stop myself from interrupting. Notice that I said “lightly.” You don’t want to draw blood! But this little tactic helps me focus on the listening.

Honestly, listening without judgement will truly make a difference in your relationships both at home and at work. And who knows, you may even learn something in the process.


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Celebrate Your Victories

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Normal looks a lot different these days, thanks to 2020. Spending time at my favorite coffee shop, hugging my friends or going to a concert are put on hold for right now. But because this pandemic has been going on for over six months now, I’m actually getting used to a few of my new routines

Did you know that it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. I’m not making this stuff up. This is a real study that was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. So, I ask you, what new routines have you developed over the last several months. What new habits have worked their way into your life that you would like to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how small they are or that they may seem a bit strange. Hell, this whole year has been strange. It’s time now to celebrate your wins

What’s yours? Maybe you’re getting used to your pet sitting on your lap during one of your MANY Zoom calls, or it could be that you’ve become a better cook. Personally, I’ve tried some amazing dessert recipes that have been in my “recipe pile” for years.

This is a time to recognize your new habits and celebrate them. Please tell us: I’d love to hear at least one small win that you are proud of.


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Find the Familiar

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I miss my mundane routines, even the ones I used to do every day and sometimes dreaded. Like running errands whenever I felt like it, buying toilet paper whether I needed it or not, talking to the cashier without a plastic shield between us.

This social distancing, time of quarantine and feeling of isolation is taking its toll on me. I grieve, yes grieve, for all we have lost. Things like touch, travel, hugging, meeting friends, and some sort of normalcy. Ah yes, remember that? Normalcy!

Think about it. Right now, we are dealing with the loss of the world we knew. So, how do we cope? How do we deal with our grief when there is so much uncertainty in our future.

Well, recently I discovered something that has helped me, even if it’s only for a little while. I find that surrounding myself with something familiar really helps. Right now, I am wearing an old sweatshirt that my father gave me and it brings back such wonderful memories of the times we spent together. Another thing that helps is looking through old photographs of times I spent with friends and family. Having physical photographs I can hold rather than looking at them on a computer bring me more of a sense of calmness. Also, watching old movies or listening to music can stir sweet emotions.

You get the idea. Find something that is familiar to you; something that brings back lovely memories, and spend some time wearing it, looking at it, sitting in it – whatever it takes. See if those past, pleasant memories can help you through this time of uncertainty. All we’re looking for right now is getting through this one day at a time. Because with each day, we get closer to a cure, to some sort of normalcy, and to a time when we can look back at all this and tell our story of a lifetime.


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The Upside of Aging

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Now there’s a twist. Most people don’t think of putting the words aging and upside in the same sentence. Looking at the news and advertisements, you’d think that getting older is all doom and gloom and it’s all over by the time you hit 40. But I’m living proof to tell you otherwise. Here are some of the benefits I have experienced as I age:

First, I have better skin. As I get older, my skin produces less oil – and that leads to less blemishes. No more unwanted or unexpected pimples that come out of nowhere. What a relief!

Second, my headaches have nearly disappeared. When I was in my 20s, I suffered from migraines and I felt like my head was going to explode. Well, with age, those intense headaches have disappeared completely, and on the occasion when I do get some pain, it is minor.

Third, and most importantly, is my mindset. Yes, I have a much better outlook on all the crap that life sometimes throws my way. And you know why? Because I have been through it before and know that I have survived. Over all those years, I have gained the knowledge and the skills to cope with anything. Does that make my challenges any less scary and painful? NO! But what it does do is give me the confidence to know that I will survive and this too shall pass. And that is the greatest gift of all.

So, you see, like everything else, aging comes with its pros and cons. You can’t control getting older, but you can control how you embrace it.

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