Ultimately all communication is about building connection and relationship. Even when it is just a sharing of facts and information, the relational brain/being is tracking for safety and connection by being understood.
1. BE PRESENT - put your full attention on the other - step into their shoes.
2. FEEL AND SHOW EMPATHY with your body language and/or words eg “wow, I really get what you are saying!” To do this authentically, you need to put your attention fully on the other, to feel like you are literally stepping into their shoes.
PS you can try to fake empathy, but most people notice, and it doesn’t work for very long.
3. BE CURIOUS. Ask clarifying questions to take the speaker further.
4. ADD TO THE SUBJECT. "Yes, and... " Stay on topic and add an interesting nuance. But dont talk about you…. yet…. your time is later when the speaker has been reasonably listened to.
5. DO NOT INTERRUPT. Or at least be mindful of when to interrupt. Interruptions come in many forms. From overly enthusiastic agreeing noises... to not letting the speaker finish a sentence, a paragraph, or an idea... to constantly bringing the conversation back to yourself. Doing this builds resentment and disconnection.
5. BE PATIENT. You are building the relationship, which, ultimately, is more important than the subject matter you are discussing.
Unless explicitly stated, all communication needs to be reciprocal. A flow of give and take between speaking and listening If you are a Generous Listener, there is no doubting that people will like and appreciate you. But be careful that the relationship is not just one way - ie you listening and them speaking. Obviously , this can become very unsatisfying, very quickly.
After a decent period of generous listening, it can be a good idea to insert a few thoughts and ideas of yours, and see if the other person can pick them up and also become a Generous Listener. If they reciprocate in this way, you can end up having a balanced give and take of listening and sharing…. and ultimately deepening the trust in the relationship.
Around 1989, when I was studying my undergraduate Psychology degree, I asked a lecturer, "When am I going to be allowed to have an independent or exploratory thought (without being penalised)?".
Surprisingly honestly, he told me that, independent thought is not encouraged until you get to do your PhD.
So I told him, “Well therefore, by the time I get to do a PHD, I'll be so crushed and mind-controlled, that I won’t have any independent thoughts left."
He nodded silently. I suppose he wanted to keep his tenure.
Is that why academia can barely be trusted as a place for innovation?￼
If you do a search for my name on the internet, you are likely to come up with a legal document from the Australian government-funded Health Care Complaints Commission - HCCC.
In their 6 page document of endless imagined claims, they falsely allege that in early January 2020, I caused harm to an ex-client of mine. I contacted them numerous times - both email and phone - asking for proof of the allegations. But rather than follow due process, they ignored all my requests, and treated me as if I was guilty... and barrelled on with their apparent goal to destroy my name and my 32 year Counselling business.
When I found out who the ex-client was, I was incredibly surprised, as this particular female client came to see me on and off for 2-3 years - and she was THE most complimentary client in my whole life as a Counsellor! She told me pretty much every session how much I was helping her ... and it was so full on, that I had to regularly ask her to focus on the great work she was doing to help herself. And we also never had the slightest upset or misunderstandings that I was aware of. Hence, my incredible surprise when I found out it was she who made the complaint. Also most of the complaints seemed to have nothing to do with her and what mattered to her - she appeared to have been 'coached'. Obviously, I tried to contact her, (once) but she wouldn't respond.
Despite my many letters and phone calls, all my requests for the HCCC to provide evidence were duly ignored. Early on, I was given interim orders that banned me from working... (surely this is illegal?) ...and then eventually, they requested I turn up to court.
As it was during the Covid era... I lived 7 hours away from Sydney,...and I had no funds for a lawyer... and I had completely lost any faith that I would be treated fairly... I did not turn up to the 4 times they called me to court. To be honest, it was hard for me to treat the whole thing seriously, because there was no way I would ever harm a client. And they had no evidence, because how could they, if their allegations had no basis in truth??
Nevertheless, they found me guilty of not turning up to court, and somehow magically produced a rabbit out of their magicians hat with the resultant outcome.
Obviously, this is a total travesty of justice, and if we actually lived in a Democracy, this could never happen. Which does make one think - do we live in the opposite??
Surely it is not ethical to obey an unjust law or ruling?
A responsible or sovereign person cannot collude
with such injustice, because to do so is to encourage it.
Interestingly, I am in good company. Similar has happened to many medical practitioners in Australia. Including the incredible Naturopath, Barbara O'Neill. She turned up to court with a good lawyer, but ended up with a similar outcome - banned from working for life.
Just recently, I noticed that Michael Gray Griffith of Cafe Locked Out was doing some great work supporting Barbara, so last week (Jan 2024), I decided to contact him, and we did this interview, where for the first time, someone actually listened to me with understanding and compassion. A most healing experience.
Click here for my interview with Michael at Cafe Locked Out
Despite the inestimable negative impact this has all had on my life, the loss of income, and destruction of my good name... I have prevailed, and will continue to do so with the incredible support of my friends and community... who I will be forever grateful for keeping me surviving.
I look forward to justice prevailing.
Pretty much everything that's happened in my life has been a lesson in COMPASSION. I was born an empathic and compassionate child, but it seems that there were finer distinctions to learn. More and more suffering to be had.... deeper levels to go.
And from those learnings, have come stronger and stronger distinctions around holding boundaries.
If you are being hurtful or abusive, and I ask you to stop, don't act all 'victimy', and make me the problem. Bringing up something I am not happy with, is not abusive to you. It's me respecting the relationship enough to want to fight for it.
And no, I wont 'turn the other cheek', as that's just asking for more.
So mostly, unless we can talk things through with compassion for each other, you'll just see me walking quietly away.
If an unjust SYSTEM exists, I will either step sideways... and do whatever I want any way...or fiercely fight for your and my freedoms.
I will also fiercely fight for the underdog... but mostly only if they are behaving ethically, and taking responsibility for their lives.
Because ultimately, compassion stems from compassion for self.
When I love, know, appreciate and forgive myself, it creates the ground and blueprint to do that to others.
When we talk about the Jewish Holocaust - it pales into comparison with the Witch Hunts conducted by the female-hating Catholic Church.
Centuries later, the Rockefellers provided the next kill-shot when they started funding male-only medical universities etc, which seriously weakened the impact of the, until then, mostly female healers.
To this day, women are still dealing with the epigenetic trauma caused by this mass extermination of the feminine and the wholistic healer.
What sort of sane society would give the job of birthing to men??
For years now and especially under cover of Covid, we are now in the Third Wave where midwifery is again under attack...and any form of alternative healing is again being weakened or eradicated.
See here for a video exploring this topic in more detail
Systems-Buster, Culture Creator, Visionary, Community -Builder, Writer and Speaker and Facilitator