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It May Not Be Easy to Love An Old Soul, But It’s Life Changing

It May Not Be Easy to Love An Old Soul, But It’s Life Changing

There is a special type of person in this world who is often misunderstood. They tend to be the loner, the free spirit, the wide-eyed innocent lover. They see the world for all it can — and should be — though the world rarely sees them. They are the old souls, the dreamers, the people so in-tune with life, so intuitive of emotion, that they scare us. Not because of who they are, but because of who we aren’t, what we lack.

Old souls reach depths we cannot possibly comprehend. They have a connection with God, with the universe, with nature, and that’s why they’re the people who will change the world. We often feel inferior, like we have to work extra hard to be remotely close to their level, to be deserving of their love.

It takes a confident person to love an old soul. But man is it worth it. It will change your life.

1. They are romantic.

They are the Audrey Hepburns and Grace Kellys, the Gregory Pecks and Frank Sinatras of this world, who cherish our hearts and do it with style: with picnics and candles and elements of surprise. Old souls have a flair for fun, for passion and adventure, that they’ll reveal to those they love.

2. They’re loyal.

Give an old soul love, respect, passion, and they’ll be faithful to you forever. Old souls aren’t after superficial friendships, or one-night-stands. They value depth. Truth. Authenticity. And if you meet that need, the love they have for you will never die.

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They’ll be there for you when dreams shatter, when life gets tough, in joy and sorrow.

3. They help us grow.

Old souls have inquisitive minds. They’re easily inspired and desire to learn as much as they can about the world and those around them. They don’t fear change or adventure. They’re open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. They desire to grow as people (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) so they inspire us to grow and change as well.

One can’t live by fear when loving an old soul.

4. They’re not materialistic.

Old souls care more about experiences, about spending quality time together than they’ll ever care about expensive jewelry and flowers or what money buys. They value you, the wonderful person you are, the person they fell in love with.

And if you invest your time and energy into loving an old soul, if you make time for them — beach strolls, dinners out, chilling on the couch watching Netflix, etc. — they’ll be fulfilled and so will you.

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5. They understand the deep connections of life.

Old souls can seem withdrawn at times, almost burdened down with the stress of the world around them. They often reflect about love and pain and worry. Their minds are hard at work trying to solve the problems of the world and the problems of their soul. They do this because of a strong desire to heal the world. To help others and help themselves.

So, appreciate their rich, magical emotions that run deep. Accept their desire to write and draw and paint. Encourage them. Cherish the depths of their soul. Then let them fly so they may share their open heart with the broken.

6. They’re thankful.

Because what’s good in this world can seem few and far between, old souls seek out and appreciate beauty. Whether it’s a radiant sunset or an act of kindness from a stranger, old souls recognize that the clouds do roll in, that people don’t have to be kind. So when someone goes out of their way, old souls take notice and give thanks. Old souls look for the best in people, for the beauty in their surroundings, for the blessings in life. And they often find it. Which makes old souls a light to be around.

7. They model bravery.

To live life misunderstood, to be unappreciated, taken for-granted, the group outcast — and still survive — WOW. Old souls are the bravest, most courageous people I know. They walk a painful road few in this life are chosen to walk, and yet they somehow muster the strength to smile. To be selfless. To support others.

Maybe not all the time. Not every day. But old souls know the trenches of pain and instead of being bitter, they make the world a better place.

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8. They’re authentic.

Old souls are not fake. They don’t play games. And they won’t tell you what you want to hear when they don’t believe in it. So the good news: You get the truth–whether you like it or not. And yes, while sometimes the truth can hurt, at least it’s real.

And yes, when an old soul is sad, they can’t hide it. Which can be a painful process to watch when you love them. But remember, anyone can be fake.

Old souls are who they are and that’s why we love them.

9. They have faith in us.

They see the good in us when we fail to see it ourselves. We can be the biggest idiots, the most selfish, ungrateful people, and an old soul won’t give up on us.They push us to be better, stronger, more authentic people. They remind us of what’s beautiful in this world. They inspire us to follow our heart and pursue our dreams.

They’re the kind of people we need in our lives because they they see the potential we have yet to see.

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10. They love us.

To be loved by an old soul is to feel the vast expanses of oceans and heavens and stars collide into one. The love of an old soul is a deep, genuine, fire burning love that ignites the depravity within our own souls. It is intense and powerful, selfless and unfailing. To love and be loved by an old soul heals us, changes us, and molds us into more caring, more passionate people.

Old souls are the sun. They’re the spark. They’re all the colors of a rainbow, and the depths of the earth. They may be misunderstood, but they’re love is real, their hearts pure.

Fall in love with an old soul and you’ll never fall in love again.

Featured photo credit: Girl Chasing Seagulls on Beach/Anton Petukhov via flickr.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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