Tag Archives: caring habits

The Caring Habit of Listening

By Kim Olver

As a healthy relationship habit, listening isn’t just about hearing another person, waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in with your “words of wisdom.” Listening is about doing your best to understand another person. Try to stand in their shoes, be in their skin and see the world with their eyes as best you can. No one can have perfect understanding of another. That would mean you would have to actually be that other person, but we can work at doing the best we can.

Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can see it from another’s point of view and still maintain your own perspective as true for you. One example is a wife who speaks to her husband about his excessive drinking. She believes his drinking is having a serious effect on his health, particularly his achy joints and his liver. He explains to her that he has a lot of anger that he doesn’t understand and that drinking helps him contain that anger. She is able to understand his perspective without agreeing with him. It helps her be more understanding of the reason he drinks.

Another example, involves an incident when I was sixteen. I remember asking my mother if I could stay home from school. She asked if I was sick and I replied, “No, I’m not sick but I can’t go to school with this huge zit on the end of my nose. Everyone will stare at me!” My mother’s response: “Kimberly Marie, get ready for school. You won’t even remember this five years from now.” Well, I’m 53 and I still remember it, Mom.

father-son

This is not to say I think my mother should have allowed me to go stay home from school. What I wish is that she would have listened to me to understand how devastated and desperate I was feeling. She might have even shared about a time she had a pimple and it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Almost any response would have been better than having my perspective completely disregarded. (The funny thing is, in one way my mother was right. I don’t remember my classmates reactions that day but I do remember my mother not really listening to me.)

Do you have any stories about a time when someone didn’t listen to you? Or maybe you have a story about a time when someone did and it really made a difference. Can you be the person today who really listens to someone important to you to understand their point of view?

The Art of Listening

By Kim Olver

As a healthy relationship habit, listening isn’t just about hearing another person, waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in with your “words of wisdom.” Listening is about doing your best to understand another person. Try to stand in their shoes, be in their skin and see the world with their eyes as best you can. No one can have perfect understanding of another. That would mean you would have to actually be that other person, but we can work at doing the best we can.

father-son

Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can see it from another’s point of view and still maintain your own perspective as true for you. One example is a wife who speaks to her husband about his excessive drinking. She believes his drinking is having a serious effect on his health, particularly his achy joints and his liver. He explains to her that he has a lot of anger that he doesn’t understand and that drinking helps him contain that anger. She is able to understand his perspective without agreeing with him. It helps her be more understanding of the reason he drinks.

Another example, involves an incident when I was sixteen. I remember asking my mother if I could stay home from school. She asked if I was sick and I replied, “No, I’m not sick but I can’t go to school with this huge zit on the end of my nose. Everyone will stare at me!” My mother’s response: “Kimberly Marie, get ready for school. You won’t even remember this five years from now.” Well, I’m 53 and I still remember it, Mom.

This is not to say I think my mother should have allowed me to go stay home from school. What I wish is that she would have listened to me to understand how devastated and desperate I was feeling. She might have even shared about a time she had a pimple and it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Almost any response would have been better than having my perspective completely disregarded. (The funny thing is, in one way my mother was right. I don’t remember my classmates reactions that day but I do remember my mother not really listening to me.)

Do you have any stories about a time when someone didn’t listen to you? Or maybe you have a story about a time when someone did and it really made a difference. Can you be the person today who really listens to someone important to you to understand their point of view?

Can you make a difference? You already have.

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

In 1990 there was interest and research in understanding why some children raised in challenged circumstances were able to rise above these hardships while others did not. Was there something about these children that made them more resilient and able to overcome the incredible odds against them? 

What emerged from this inquiry boiled down to one significant and important factor. The children who had a strong positive relationship with one responsible and caring adult had greater resilience, perseverance and grit. This special adult might be a parent, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader, some other relative, family friend, or a relationship that developed with someone who started out as a complete stranger. Who the person is  is not nearly as important as that there is a person. Isn’t that amazing?

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Were you lucky enough to have that kind of strong, supportive and encouraging relationship with someone in your life? This was the person you could count on always being happy to see you, who believed in you during those times you had trouble believing in yourself. Perhaps this person showed you kindness when no one else did. Or maybe they were the person who got strong and tough with you giving you that kick in the rear that got you moving again. Were you lucky enough to have that kind of a champion on your side?

Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference has never been to bed with a mosquito   Gandhi                                

Take a moment now and realize that you are that person for someone else!  The relationship may not have been for a long time or long term. Perhaps it was only during one school term or coaching season. Maybe it was even more brief. You were the person who smiled at the stranger you past in the street. But the chances are good that you have been the one positive and responsible caring adult who showed support, encouragement and kindness to another person when they needed it. You provided that moment to help with their need for some resilience and grit. Take a moment to consider the impact you are having on the people who share the planet with you?

Today, choose to be that person. You may already have a person in mind that you believe could use a little extra attention, support and encouragement. If not, set your intention to be a kind, supportive and encouraging person today. Be open to whoever the universe puts in your path.

One of the quickest strategies to improved Mental Health & Happiness is reach out and help another person. You already have in ways you may not even be aware of. And today you can make a conscious choice to once more touch another someone.

Who Owns the Problem?

By Dr. Ken Larsen

The first time I heard this question asked I felt a new level of understanding open within me.

Before this question came into my life, I had found that when a problem arose one of two things resulted:

  • One was the reflexive reaction to find someone or something to blame.  Dr. Glasser defined this process clearly with the “Seven Deadly Habits.”
  • If someone or something could not be found to blame, then, too often I would take on the burden and blame myself.

deadlyhabitsThe problem with this kind of thinking is that the energy that could be used to solve the problem is being dissipated in the “blame game.”

As I pondered this question I came to see that “owning” the problem is simply taking responsibility.  It does not necessarily assign fault.  In his book “Reality Therapy” Dr. Glasser made the simple statement that we could replace the words “mental health” with “responsibility”.

“Owning” the problems that are the inevitable challenges of life is simply realizing our own power to choose the course of action that will be most helpful.

supportinghabitsSometimes we encounter situations where we personally don’t “own” the problem, but are aware of the someone who does.  Once again we have a choice as to how we think about and relate to the other person owning the problem.  Do we lapse into the “7 Deadlies”?  or have we accepted our own “response-ability” to apply one or more of the “7 Caring habits” in support of the other person?

Next time you are faced with one of life’s challenges, ask yourself the question, “who owns the problem?” And then use your “response-ability” to make the necessary choices.

 

 

“…and seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

By Dr. Ken Larsen

My friend Dr. Nancy Buck gave me a word of encouragement recently.  It reminded me for some reason of this old song, “Home on the Range.”   I can remember my boyhood hero, Roy Rogers, singing it.  [btw, the second verse is not very politically correct in today’s world, so stick to the first verse.]

It got me to thinking of one of my favorite subjects: words and the meaning they carry.

Think about it.  You have a meaning in mind that you want to send to another.  So you find words that fit and you send those words.  Hopefully, the words trigger a similar meaning in the mind of the receiver.  If that happens, communication has taken place.  Sometime even a meaningless word can have meaning if two people know what is being referenced.  For example, that thingy on your desk came with a doodad attachment.  Where are they now?  You ever communicate like that?  It’s funny how often that sort of thing actually communicates.

puppies

When I heard Nancy offer encouraging words, they triggered pleasant meanings in my mind that made me feel better about myself and about Nancy, and even about the world in general.  I like to find ways to send those kind of messages as often I can without falling into flattery.  If I look and listen, I can usually find something positive and up building to say to another.  Dr. Glasser’s caring habits help with this.

Now think of the unkind word.  The harsh word of criticism, or blame, or complaint.  What meanings do they trigger?  How do they make you feel?  We know that at best they don’t make you happy.  At worst they can ruin your day and affect the way you think about yourself.  You may even go home and kick the cat.  Poor cat.  Think of Dr. Glasser’s deadly habits.

We used to sing “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  I have discovered that that is simply not true.

Let’s look for ways to speak words of love and life everyday.  One of the rewards is the happiness it brings to you.

And your bonus is  a short clip of Elvis singing “Words”.

Fun is an Inside Job

Dr. Barnes Boffey

There are those who believe that fun is an inside job and those who believe it is external.

When we say “This isn’t fun” or “That’s fun,” we are describing the fun as external; we are saying the fun is contained within an outside event or experience.

fun

This appears to be true, but in reality, the fun we experience in any event has to do with our internal attitude and perspective. There are people who have fun washing dishes and people who have fun doing all sorts of things that one might not see as “fun” activities. It’s all in how you approach the task.

Yes, some tasks are easier to approach with a light heart and a whimsical
perspective, but it in the end (to paraphrase a Beatles lyric) “The fun we take is equal to the fun we make.”

One way to hold onto this perspective is to change our language about “fun.” When we say “That’s not fun,” we have ascribed the fun feeling externally to “that.” It is easier if we realize that a basic instruction/need in our lives can be  described as “fun,” but we can also describe it as a basic instruction to “be playful.”

If we ask ourselves, “Am I being playful while doing this activity?” rather than “Is this activity fun?” we can keep an accurate perspective. “Being playful” is an internal attitude, not an external attribute. People who are always looking for fun outside themselves will be generally disappointed, often bored, and occasionally depressed. Playful people are not worried about the conditions around them; they bring the fun they want to experience.