Listen

                                                     By:  Nina Mistier

The way we communicate is the basis of our happiness with our families, friends and
lovers.  Are you an effective communicator?  Are you a good listener?  Do people feel
better or worst after having a conversation with you?  Do you listen when others speak
even if there are negative things spoken?  Do you respectfully look at the other person
while quietly allowing them to express themselves or do you attack when you hear words
you don’t like or feel the need to respond immediately before you forget what you want to
say?    
It is important to know yourself and style of communication.  This can affect your
happiness and success in many areas of your life. We tend to project what we learned at
home as children, but that is not always best.  If you grew up in a house with screaming
you will probably be a screamer, if you were raised in a home where communication was
important and everyone had the opportunity to express thoughts and feelings, you are
probably a good communicator.
+Whatever your habits they can be changed if they do not get you the results you need.
If you think about your childhood and the dominant feelings you experienced; the positive
and negative you might notice the presence of those feelings in your adult life.  
When we are children we have no control over how we feel, think and act.  We are taught
through observation of our families and friends and it just becomes our way without any
conscious effort.  If you are pleased with your life, your relationships and ability to be
intimate and get your needs met that is wonderful!  Keep doing what you are doing!  

There are many people, however who are not happy, do not have satisfying relationships
and may not know why they do not get their needs met.  If you reflect on the past you
may notice a pattern.  Many people are not happy because of bad habits and I don’t mean
smoking, though it works in the same way.  I am talking about emotional and
psychological habits.  These are formed when we are young and thought over and over
through the years as we develop into adult habits.  These thoughts create the software that
is in your brain.  If you think the same thing you will get the same response.  However, a
habit can be created or changed within 21-28 days if it is practiced everyday.  

In a relationship between two lovers if there is a disagreement about something there is a
healthy and unhealthy way to deal with this.  The healthy way is when each person gets
an opportunity to express their feelings and the other listens and then responds.  It is ok to
disagree because we are all very different.  Disagreeing does not mean we don’t care
about the other person.  We then compromise and try to negotiate a win win situation.  In
an unhealthy scenario, during a disagreement, one person is yelling and cursing and
blaming the other for the problem.  This is not a healthy or respectful way to deal with
conflict however it is probably the only way this person knows to deal with conflict.  The
person being yelled at has the choice of yelling back or being quiet.  This relationship
cannot thrive because an unhealthy precedence is set.  It can last a lifetime, but I doubt if
the person being yelled at will remain happy for long. People can learn new skills if they
want to.  If the out of control screamer is willing to practice expressing in a calm way
eventually this person can create a new and more effective habit.  There are guidelines to
having a healthy discussion. Agree to give the speaker your undivided attention and
respect for five to ten minutes.  After fully listening then take a few moments to gather
your thoughts and mirror back what you just heard.  This will allow you to clarify and
make the other person feel you really heard what was being said.  Then, respond with
your thoughts and feelings for five to ten minutes and ask the listener to give you the same
respect and attention you gave.

Listen.  If you listen you will learn a great deal about what your partner, friend, colleague
or family member needs and feels.  It is not possible for people to feel the same all the
time because you are different people with different life experiences.  In order to mesh in
a relationship bond, you must be willing to respectfully work with this person to find a
comfortable middle ground.  Truly listen and you will be amazed at the results.

Nina Mistier is a Holistic Counselor, College Instructor, Yoga Instructor, Lecturer,
Freelance Writer and mother who has practiced in the NY area for twenty years.  Nina
holds an MS degree in Counseling Psychology, a BS in Psychology and a certified Yoga
instructor with the Himalayan Institute.  Nina practices positive and thought field
psychology, nutritional healing, Ayurveda and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Nina
studied with Albert Ellis and John Gray and created the first four credit course for the
State University of NY which included Yoga, Psychology and Nutrition.  Nina specializes
in women’s issues and can be reached for an appointment at 917-309-0179.
The New York Optimist
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