Sunday Thoughts (closed mouth)

I read a lot, and in today’s “snapshot” world of information, everyone is trying to hook you in with a headline and a promise of something really interesting.

There’s lists of things you need to know. Skills you need to master. Places you need to go.

Foods you need to try.

If you added all these things to your “to do” list, over time your only task would be… familiarizing yourself with your list of to-dos.

So I’m not going to give you a laundry list today.

No, there are two simple things that we can all do that will help our relationships, keep us learning and growing… and ultimately, make us more likeable to everyone we come across.

And both involve keeping our mouths shut.

It’s actually two sides of the same coin.

The first seems like it should be easy: become a better listener. No problem, right?

If we’re not talking, we’re listening, aren’t we?

Well most of the time, no. We’re dreaming up the next thing we’re going to say.

True listening means focusing – intently – on what the other person is saying. We may think we’re good at this, but unless you work at it, you’re probably not as good as you believe.

A university asked 8,000 people about their listening skills. And nearly everyone rated themselves as “above average.”

That can’t possibly be true.

Keeping your ears open, and your eyes – for body language cues & tone of voice – helps you really decipher what the other person is trying to get across. If you suspend judgement, disbelief and try to understand, you’re bound to get more out of any conversation.

It’s about understanding, not rebuttals, or sharing your wisdom. At least, it should be.

The other side of the coin, and it’s definitely related, is this: know when to clam up.

Yes, I know. It can feel awfully good to unload on someone and share what you really think. But you’re exchanging a fleeting feeling for a lingering one for someone else… they’re going to feel awful.

What happens after that? The next day? Week, or year? If you can get a handle on your emotions, and look at the long-term impact of putting someone on blast, you’ll likely cool down, and your relationships will definitely get better.

Many times, that means you need to bite your tongue.

You may have guessed it by now, but when I share these thoughts with you, it’s not just about you. It’s about me.

The simple act of sharing is a perfect reminder for me, a refresher course I can take myself.

Because I’m far from perfect. But I’m working on it…

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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