This question has been on my mind recently, so I’m asking people I admire what daily practices help them achieve their personal bests. Starting today, inspiring individuals who have guided my journey will share a self-care ritual that they perform in their lives to feel better about themselves.
I’m excited to get started! Today, Pooky Knightsmith Hesmondhalgh, Ph.D., a specialist in student mental health and emotional well-being from the U.K., is sharing her record worthy practice with all of us. I met Pooky through the WordPress blogging community. Pooky has personal experience with the issues she teaches and writes about, and she shares her insight from a first-person perspective.
Wherever you are in your life journey, you can always learn and improve your skills. I encourage you to sit back, put away your distractions for a few minutes, and reflect on what Pooky’s saying. Think about how you can apply her record worthy practice, which she shares below, in your life.
“My contribution is listening …. REALLY listening. I regularly try to take the time to actively listen to friends, family or sometimes someone completely new who I’ve just met. By taking time out of my day to completely stop and make that person my only focus, I manage to regain focus in my own life too. I often learn a lot both about the person I’m listening to, and about myself during the process.
The key aspects for me of these listening sessions are:
I set aside time when the person I’m listening to is my sole focus. I remove all distractions.
I find the medium that makes them most comfortable and aids the conversation – for some people this is face-to-face, some it’s the phone, others it’s an online chat, etc.
I make sure the person I’m talking to knows that I’m actively listening, by summarizing and reflecting on what they’re saying periodically – this also helps to ensure I’ve fully understood what’s being said.
I encourage the person I’m talking with to explore their feelings, thoughts and ideas by using a lot of open questions – questions that can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or other one-word answer.
Especially if the person I’m talking to shares something they’ve not felt comfortable sharing with others (this happens often), I take time to thank them for trusting me.
I find this kind of active listening enriches the relationships I have with others. It makes me feel both valuable and valued, and it’s also a complete change of pace to the manic life I lead much of the time.”
Thanks, Pooky, for sharing your record worthy practice with all of us. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with active listening. With all the distractions in our lives, one can forget the importance of making time to really listen.
How has active listening impacted your journey? Can you relate to Pooky’s experience? Do you take time out of your busy day to listen to others or to your thoughts? If not, what is distracting you from practicing the art of listening in your daily lives?