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10 Vital Things You Need To Know About True Love

10 Vital Things You Need To Know About True Love

You long for true love.  You have dreamed about finding it forever.

But every time you think you have grasped it, it slips through your fingers. Or it breaks them, along with your heart.

You ask, as we all do, “What am I doing wrong?”

Let me share 10 vital, love-changing secrets that will lead you to over the moon, incredible, never ending romance.  I know because I have found it…and it’s my second time around.

Warning:  If you treat someone like this, they will never leave you, so be sure this person is the one you want.

One more very crucial thing: the key here is to merge the words “true love” with “courage“.

TRUE love is not for the fainthearted. It is to be approached as if you were embarking on the greatest adventure of your life.

1.  True love thrives on the courage to be yourself

Imagine being at peace with who you are.

Imagine enjoying what is strong about you and focusing on growing within that instead of working hard to hide your weaknesses, afraid that someone might leave you because of them.

I used to hate looking at myself in the mirror because I had this loathing inside for who I was. So much energy was spent on trying to be who others wanted me to be.

Exhausted from all the pain and fear resulting from that perspective, I decided to simply become myself.

I began to live in gratitude turned upward for how I had been uniquely made.  Consequently, I found confidence growing from the very center of my being.

It’s from that center that I now love.

2.  True love thrives on the courage to respect yourself by finding your voice

When you like yourself, you become your own champion.

Imagine standing up to protect your heart being natural to you.

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Imagine discomfort triggering you to step up and say what it is you are feeling or fearing.

When you become yourself, this is how you will learn to be.

You will recognize someone who has the potential to love you as you need to be loved.  On the flipside, you will also recognize when someone is not able to be that one.

From that same confident, strong center I found, you, too, will become the lover rather than the one demanding to be loved.

3.  True Love thrives on the courage to make it all about the one you love

The most successful relationships I know are those where both partners as strong enough individually to put themselves aside and see life through the eyes of that special someone in their life.

Imagine being able to hold wise boundaries and have your fears about being “walked on” left far behind you.

Imagine choosing to make it your aim to create an atmosphere of safety where both of you can rest, grow and thrive.

Great fulfillment comes in seeing your sweetheart relax and respond to you with a contented smile.

True love is about your partner being able to grow and equip themselves to handle whatever life brings because they know that someone (i.e. you) has their back.

4.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need for certainty.

Imagine a place where you can be completely yourself.

Imagine never being judged or criticized.

Imagine having the freedom to choose what is best for you in the moment and that being received with acceptance.

Imagine feeling protected and cared for and having there for you whatever it is you need to feel secure.

This is describing the need for “safety”. Certainty. Your partner desires that deeply.

Do you know then well enough to build a safe space designed around their particular preferences?

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5.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need for adventure

Imagine “adventure”. Thrills, fun, edge of your seat suspense, surprise just when you need it.

Imagine the unexpected challenges arising in your life and being able to think through and plan a strategy alongside someone you trust and respect.

Look through the eyes of the one you love for a moment. Do you know what makes them laugh or what kind of surprises they love?

Do you understand what they anticipate or look forward to doing?

What would draw out their deep gratitude?

How do they wish you would respond when life gets tough and you are both caught off-guard?

6.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need for significance

Imagine having all of the cherishing your heart could hold.

Imagine the tranquility of never having to worry about losing the love surrounding you.

Imagine being completely accepted.

Imagine having someone look at you in a way that tells you they believe in you.

Imagine making a mistake and being told that it’s ok, that you are learning and that you should be patient with yourself.

Your heart yearns for this. So does the heart of the one you love, though they may never voice that.

Do you know what makes them afraid that they are not enough?

Do you understand how lonely they feel inside and what might make their heart open like a flower to the sun?

7.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need to be loved unconditionally

Imagine someone totally committed to doing everything within their power to love you in the way you define love.

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Imagine someone seeing you are cold and bringing you a sweater even before you ask.

Imagine someone sensing how tired you are and sending you for a rest while they take care of what you normally take care of.

Imagine the words, “I forgive you. I understand. Nothing will ever change my love for you. It grows stronger every day.”

Imagine someone putting aside their own excitement of the day in order to bring you comfort when they see you may be struggling.

True love is stepping up and loving someone else in such a way that it becomes more and more “unconditional”.

Their comfort, their care, their needs put more and more ahead of your own.

8.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need for connection

How much we all long to be connected.  Thus we have communities, sports teams, clubs and groups of every kind. It’s healthy to be a part of what interests us outside of our relationships but how often do we begin to prefer to spend time there because the bond between us and our loved one is broken.

Imagine having that sense of “belonging” fulfilled in every way possible within your relationship so that when friends or extended family disappoint you, you weather it together.

Imagine being able to talk about anything and everything revealing all of your thoughts and dreams and ideas freely.

Imagine being heard – really heard – and your opinions being appreciated and acknowledged.

Imagine being held just when you need it the most in the way you need it.

That man or woman in your life aches for this as much as you do. Open your heart and search for as many ways to connect with them as possible. Learn to listen and to enjoy some of the activities that they enjoy.

9.  True love thrives on the courage to meet your lover’s need for growth

If you are not growing, you die – even while you are still living. We experience this consistently in nature all around us. Trees and grass and children exemplify this truth.

Imagine someone knowing your dreams, your aspirations, your future plans and goals.

Imagine that the greatest pleasure in someone’s life is celebrating your milestones right alongside of you because they are proud of you and were there for you every step of the long climb it took to get there.

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Put yourself in the shoes of the one you have committed your life to.

What are her dreams?  What are his?

Have you had a long look recently into their eyes in order to reach the bottom of their heart?  Or do you take for granted that you know all there is to know?

What do they want, really want, from life?

What is within your power to help them get there?

10.  True love is the courage to meet your lover’s need to make a difference

When life is cruel to you and breaks your heart, you tend to withdraw from the world in order to protect yourself from more pain.  Often it is said that out of your greatest pain comes your greatest mission.

You are not random. You were made with care and innate skills to let life prepare you to help someone else.

Imagine what it would feel like to give in a way that made a difference to someone.

Imagine an overwhelming sense of fulfillment because you have given yourself permission to do what you love and help someone else in the process. I am using my love to write to help others learn how to love right now.

Imagine having a partner who knows you so well that he or she opens your eyes to a new understanding of the gifts you’ve been given.

Part of your purpose in life is to assist your partner in finding his or her own way of unconditionally giving love to the world around them.  You are the one who can observe their strengths in ways that no one else can.

 

Do you want to find true love?  Then it’s vital that you take these truths to heart and find your courage to become all you can be in order to help someone else become all they can be.

Remember, “The greatest thing you will ever learn is to love and to be loved in return”.

Do you have some other vital things to share about learning to love?

Featured photo credit: Image credit: kiuikson / 123RF Stock Photo via submit.123rf.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

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.

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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.”[1]

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.

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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,[2]

“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.

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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.”[3]

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.

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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.”[4]

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:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. 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.

Final Thoughts

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

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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