Who Do You Really Need To Hear?

Mom and Daughter Relationships

My mother turned 81 April 16th and she is fit as a fiddle!  I have always enjoyed a very close, loving, supportive and mutually respectful relationship with my mother. I noticed as we both grow older we have become more like really close sisters (though she tends to still mother me every now and again!).

I look back on the past several years of this awesome relationship with my mother as I wanted to know; why do I enjoy this great relationship with her while it wasn’t always the same for her and my older sister and my older sister and I?

Observation and quality time

My answer to this question was made clear when I now observe the relationship between my mother and my older sister, they too have developed over the last 8 or more years a relationship that is similar to what I have always had with my mother- it is great! I too share an awesome and beautiful relationship with my sister!

All three of us spend a lot of quality time together and we enjoy each other’s company-a lot!  We are truly now like three sisters who are very close to each other.

What’s the secret?

So, are you wondering what the answer I discovered that is responsible for this awesome relationship we three have?   We hear each other.  We hear each other!

In the earlier days we would be deaf to the needs, nuances and quirks that we each bring to the relationship. We would fail to hear the need to be understood before, as Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People puts it, we were understood!  We each wanted to have the honour of being heard but were slow on the draw to reciprocate this respect back to the other person.

Now when we are with each other (it’s been like this for easily 10 years or more!) you can see the deep desire to truly hear each other. We each are committed to understanding each other before we ask to be understood. It’s been a powerful life journey I have been on with these two awesome women!

How do you hear someone?

  • Begin with the end in mind.  This is another of Covey’s habits and it is one that will, if practiced diligently, always help you to better hear and understand the other person.
  • Truly listen to be changed by what they are sharing. This is tough for most people, but it is the only way we can understand someone. If we don’t put ourselves in their shoes we can’t understand them, we won’t hear them!
  • After listening deeply and non-judgmentally seek permission to share what you understand from what you heard.  This shows the deep respect you have for the other person, that you care enough to hear them and that you take the time to check in with them if you truly heard them.
  • After asking permission to share your perspectives do so from a place of having no expectations on the part of the other person to agree with you. This prevents you from being disappointed when they don’t. It is often our expectations of others that cause us to feel let down, resentful and angry.
  • Finally, go back to the first step, begin with the end in mind, and always end with the desired outcome in mind.  This keeps our egos quiet and allows our true selves to shine.

As we celebrate Mothers’ day this month, let us not forget to listen to our mothers. They have a lot to teach us!

Here’s to your best life!

Keep Well…Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, MPH, RD, ACC

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