Building Better Relationships is essential in all areas of your life, starting with yourself, your partner, family, prospects and customers, teams and community.
First, relationships start with ourselves. When we master that relationship, we then can broaden and expand our relationships with others. One of the biggest enhancements for relationship building is attention and availability, help others be their best, while maintaining your best.
What is the most effective tool for relationship building? Be an effective listener.
Years ago I learned Reflective Listening from Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.,
a Clinical Pastoral Counselor who is known internationally for his work with couples. This method is also known as Imago Relationship Therapy, “Conscious Partnership”. Immediately I knew that it was valid, worthwhile and valuable, one of the best resources for Building Better Relationships, not just with your partner but in all areas of your life.
Effective tools for listening are first and foremost staying focused on the other person, listen attentively. A critical aspect is to listen without reacting to the other person’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and body language. It is important to stay non-reactive, and not take things personally. Essentially reflect back what you heard, never try to fix the problem. However, you can lead with questions. The emphasis also should be on validation, and providing understanding and empathy. Importantly, wound bounding is a very ineffective way to connect with people. Although the initial intention may be to share understanding and empathy, it conveys a message of self-importance. It alienates the other person, and often leads to frustration that they are not being heard. Wound bounding takes away from the other person’s hurts and pains, and delays the healing process.
Although Reflective Listening may feel unfamiliar and even challenging when you first initiate the process, after time it will become familiar and welcomed in your relationships. Remember listening is a learned skill. It is vital that the other person knows they matter and feel recognized.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn notably said “Be so busy giving recognition that you don’t need it.” I have learned over time to replace the word, ‘recognition’ with anything else whether it is love or respect, etc.
Put the needs of others first by loving them, and recognizing and validating them first, and you will be amazed at how much will come back to you. It will be even more than what you expect. That is the ‘Golden Key’ to ‘Give First’, love them the way they want to be loved, and then you will wind up getting back all that you wanted and more.
These three words are vital: Give, Give, Give. Focus on the needs of others. It is far more important to understand their needs before you share your needs. By giving unconditionally the Universe will see to your compensation from unexpected people, in unexpected places, at unexpected times.
Often people express that we should love by the Golden Rule. I prefer to embrace the Platinum Rule. Everybody knows the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule states ‘we should do onto others as we would do onto ourselves’. Whereas, the Platinum Rule states ‘we should do onto others as they would do onto themselves’. If I loved you the way I want to be loved, it is not going to fulfill your needs.
Although I have mentioned this story previously, it still is a perfect illustration of loving someone by the Golden Rule. This story is one that was conveyed to me by my first coach. He received a phone call from his wife one day. She said, “Meet me downtown.” And, he said, “Why?” She said, “Just meet me downtown.” So, he met her downtown and they were on the corner, and he said, “What’s going on? Why are we here?” She stated, “Just follow me.” They go in the building, into an elevator, and get off at a marriage counselor’s office. And, he looked at his wife, and stated, “Why are we here?” She still said nothing. They get into the counselor’s office. The counselor asked, “Why are you here?” Now she finally opened up and expressed, “Well, he doesn’t love me!” He voiced, “What do you mean I do not love you?!!! I hug you all of the time.” She looked at her husband and conveyed, “But, you never say the words.” In his culture, his family hugged as an expression of love. Throughout their entire relationship she felt unloved, because her family expressed love with words. She needed to hear the words, I Love You. And, he never said those words. So, even though he loves her, and feels great about their relationship, she feels he doesn’t love her because he hasn’t expressed it verbally.
Importantly, if you learn each others love languages – how they best respond to love, how they feel loved – you will create a healthy, loving relationship. Gary Chapman wrote an excellent book called ‘The Five Love Languages’. Everybody has five primary needs in love: receiving gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time.
The key aspect here is to listen with Reflective Listening and the other person’s Love Language. All these insights can be applied to more than your personal relationship, to all areas of your life, both personal and business.
Here are the Keys to Building Better Relationships:
- Help others be their best, while maintaining your best.
- Be an effective listener.
- Stay focused on the other person, listen attentively.
- Listen without reacting to the other person’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and body language.
- Reflect back what you heard, never try to fix the problem.
- You can lead with questions.
- Validate, provide understanding and empathy.
- Never use wound bounding as a way to connect with people.
- Put the needs of others first by loving them, and recognizing and validating them.
- Love them the way they want to be loved.
- Give unconditionally.
- Express love by the Platinum Rule.
- Learn each others love languages.
The greatest motivational act one person can do for another is to listen ~ Roy Moody
Whether you need help in your personal life or in your business, I can help you with the one thing that you can change today to improve you or your business. Sign up for a 30-Minute Strategy Session Call for $25, valued at $100.