I just finished an exhilarating coaching session with a client named Sara. She was filled with anxiety and confusion about how to handle “negative comments” about getting together with her friend. Sara dreaded what her friend Dave would say to her.
Do you become defensive or go on the attack when someone gives you critical comments, puts you down, or hastily makes comments in anger? Here are four surefire ways to help you gain control of your emotions, the conversation, achieve a closer connection and understanding, and have the intimacy and authentic relationship you crave.
- Listen carefully and tell the person in your own words the feelings and the reasons behind the feelings that are expressed. By listening intently for the person’s emotions and the reasons behind these feelings, you are more likely to suspend judgment, be less defensive, and be less focused on your “counterpoint” of how you are going to defend and undermine their criticism. As you zero in and correctly rephrase the other person’s true thoughts and feelings, you will actually have that individual open up even more, creating that honesty that you want in a healthy relationship.
- Let the other person know “you get it!” This is when the light bulb goes off in your head about what your partner, friend, co-worker, or family member is telling you actually makes sense to you. Tell that individual exactly how you understand where he or she is coming from. You’ll notice the person softening and less on guard towards you.
- Describe how that specific experience must have felt like for the other. Here is where the art of empathy comes in. When you describe what the person might have experienced, you create a sense of closeness, understanding, and appreciation.
- Thank the person for his or her honesty in sharing information with you. When someone wants to provide information about you, welcome it. After all, others can see things that you cannot. Honoring another’s feelings rather than minimizing and ignoring them, is the sincere way to demonstrate respect and caring.
By graciously listening and understanding another’s point of view even when someone is upset with you and wanting to clear the air with you, allows you to gain valuable information. When others can see that you are caring enough about their genuine thoughts and feelings, you create a circle of respect and bonding.
Sara left eager to try out her new knowledge and skills. No longer was she dreading or fearful of what Dave would say to her. She realized that she had experienced a breakthrough that she could listen to others and show caring rather than being defensive or going on the attack. She now understood that being closer to another meant honesty and working through difficulties rather than backing away.
All change begins with awareness. Listening without judgment and preconceived notions of what the other is saying, meaning, or where an individual is coming from, is showing yourself and others, love in action. It is using this new information to create and claim your best self.
As a special for Smartfem readers, ACT on Love™ now by calling Dr. Mamiko at 480-391-1184 to schedule your complimentary consultation. Start living the life you deserve!