“You know when you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss
Even if we’ve had our heart broken a few times, and we believe that being cynic is easy, fairy tales portrayed in movies always warm our hearts. The best love stories are the ones that go beyond life and death. They not only foretell happiness or togetherness but they triumph over mistakes and missteps in life and arouse the feeling that goes beyond insanity that’s socially accepted.
Love is sacred and the greatest love stories provide the kind of feeling we always aspire to enjoy in our lives. I know you’ve heard stories of Romeo and Juliet, but there are more heart wrenching stories that are sure to make you emotional. Check out these 10 crazy real life love stories that would warm your heart.
1. Dashrath Manjhi – The man who broke mountains for love
“I would move the mountains for you.” If you’ve ever been in love, you might have heard soothing lines from your partner or chances are you might have told your loved ones too. Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the ‘Mountain Man’ did it for real. He split a mountain for his love.
Dashrath Manjhi, a destitute person in Gehlour, a small village in India lost his wife when he could not take her to the doctor after she fell off of a cliff. With strong determination, and often being called a ‘psychopath’, Dashrath took 22 years breaking stones in the mountains to pave a 400 feet long and 30 feet wide road that connected the village to the nearby city. His only motive was to provide people of his village with access to medical services so that nobody would lose a loved one like he did.
2. Faizul Hasan Quadri – The man who made the second Taj Mahal
Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz in 1632, Taj Mahal is often considered as the epitome of love. A 77-year-old Indian man named Faizul Hasan Quadri also vowed to build his ‘monument of love’ for his wife Tajammuli Begum in Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Faizul married Begum when she was just 14 and he taught her to read and write in Urdu. The couple had no child and his wife always worried if she would be forgotten after her death. Quadri promised to build her a mausoleum and that she’d be remembered for ages.
“We were together for more than 58 years, and love grows with time. Now that she is gone, she is always there in my thoughts,” he says. Tajammuli died of cancer in 2011.
3. Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook – Love that went beyond death
Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook had plans to get married soon after Deffy completed his studies. But his life was devastated after he learned the news of Sarinya’s death in an accident even before the two finalized a date to tie the knot. But death could not beat his love. Deffy married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony where he placed a ring on Sarinya’s hand, his girlfriend of 10 years and kissed her in a ceremony in Thailand’s Surin province.
4. David Hurd and Avril Cato – Two lovers who became one sharing letters
People write letters to their loved ones all the time. But, the story of two people who got close through letters and got married the first time they saw each other is pretty heart-welcoming. Yes, that’s how David Hurd and Avril Cato became one.
David Hurd moved to New York City in 1907 and that was when he started writing letters to Avril Cato, an unknown woman in the Caribbean who he’d never seen in life. The two started sharing letters and became close. A year later, David proposed Avril to get married and the two met for the first time on their wedding day in August 1914 in Jamaica. These two faithful pen-pals developed a deep and passionate commitment through their exquisite use of art of letter to become one.Advertising
5. Kurt Klein and Gerda Weissmann – Love during a time of war
Gerda Weissmann, a Polish-born American writer was forced to March by the Nazis for months along with 4000 other Jewish women. She lost 65 family members during the time of war and only 120 of those women in the march were alive and abandoned in a factory where they lived without proper food for days. She was one day shy of her 21st birthday, wearing rags and not bathed in three years when Kurt Klein, a Lieutenant in the United States Army force found her and rescued. The couple was engaged in September 1945 and married shortly after.
6. Anna and Boris – Two lovers who reunited after 60 years
Russian couple Anna and Boris were only married for three days, when Boris bid him adieu to join the Red Army Unit. Anna and her family were sent to an exile and the two lost contact with each other. Boris tried finding her but had no luck while Anna also had thoughts of committing suicide but remained hopeful that she’d find her man someday.
One fine day, Anna Kozlov caught sight of an old man moving out of his car in Borovlyanka in Siberia and she was breathless. She could not believe her eyes when she knew that the man clambering out was Boris.
“I thought my eyes were playing games with me,” Anna said. “I saw this familiar looking man approaching me, his eyes gazing at me. My heart jumped. I knew it was him. I was crying with joy.” The couple reunited and romance blossomed again after 60 years.
7. Eija-Ritta Berliner-Mauer – The lady who married the Berlin Wall
Eija-Ritta was only 7 when she saw the Berlin Wall for the first time on television and she felt head-over-heels when she saw the wall. Eija developed a fetish for inanimate objects and married the concrete structure in 1979. Her surname also means Berlin Wall in German and when the structure was brought down in 1989 she was in tears and said ,”What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”
Eija-Ritta was later diagnosed with a condition called Objectum-Sexuality. Though she remained virgin as a human, she insists she has a full, loving relationship with the wall for having married the structure for more than 29 years now.
8. Bonnie and Clyde – Two accomplices who loved each other
Love is blind and Bonnie and Clyde prove the same. Bonnie and Clyde, two lovers who disobeyed laws in the United States during the Great Depression robbed a lot of banks, small stores and gas stations while also killed nine police officers and several civilians.
The two met on January 5, 1930 at Clarence Clay’s (a friend of Clyde) house at 105 Herbert Street and became close friends in no time before confessing their love for each other. The two ran a gang and were known to be involved in a lot of notorious crime during the Public Enemy Era (1931-1935). The two remained loyal to each other during their life and even at the time of the violent death with gunshots they predicted as inevitable in 1934.
9. Helen and Les – A lifetime of love
Couples make promises to live together and die together. Helen and Les proved the same. Call it a matter of sheer luck or crazy true love, Helen and Les were born on the same day on December 31, 1918. The two attended the same school where they met each other and fell in love.Advertising
These high school sweethearts eloped and lived 75 years together. During the last days of their lives, Les was sick with Parkinson’s disease and slipped to coma while Helen was battling stomach cancer. She died on July 16 and Les passed away a day after without even knowing about his wife’s death. The couple were both 94.
10. Shah Hussain and Madho Lal – Two lovers together even after death
Shah Hussain, a Punjabi Sufi poet also called as the Sufi saint fell in love with a Brahmin boy called “Madho Lal”. Though gay marriage was not legal anywhere in the world before this century, the two shared a mutual feeling for each other and dared to confess their love in Pakistan, a Muslim state when they lived during their 1960s.
The two are often referred to as a single person with the composite name of “Madho Lal Hussain.” Thousands of people visit the shrine and the tomb during the “Mela Chiraghan” (Festival of Lights) where the two rest together in silence.
Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via pixabay.com
Last Updated on October 22, 2020
8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener
How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.
Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.
When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.
Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.
What Makes People Poor Listeners?
Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.
1. You Want to Talk to Yourself
Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.
Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.
It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.
2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said
This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.
Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.
3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”
It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.
I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.
If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!
4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge
While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?
To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.
My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.
Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.
Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.
How To Be a Better Listener
For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?
1. Pay Attention
A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.
According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”
As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.
I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.
2. Use Positive Body Language
You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?
A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.
People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.
But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.
According to Alan Gurney,
“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.
Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”
3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker
I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.
Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.
Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.
Be polite and wait your turn!
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.
5. Just Listen
This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.
I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.
I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.
6. Remember and Follow Up
Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.
For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!
According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”
It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.
7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential
If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.
Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.
Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”
Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.
NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:
- If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
- If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.
8. Maintain Eye Contact
When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.
Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.
By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.
Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.
You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.
And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!
More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener
Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com
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