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13 Things You Finally Understand When You’ve Found Your Soul Mate

13 Things You Finally Understand When You’ve Found Your Soul Mate

My Soul Mate causes me considerable discomfort. He sees the beauty of my soul but he also sees the ugly small fears of my ego. He knows me intimately and despite or because of this he loves me. He holds me accountable to be my best self. This is incredibly valuable but he is not just a hall monitor of my soul. He protects and provides for my soul and he does the same for my heart and my more corporeal needs. He is my Soul Mate, play mate and so much more. I am the same for him. Here are some things I have finally understood after finding my Soul Mate. I hope you will too.

1. You Don’t Have To Lie Anymore

When you meet your Soul Mate you finally understand the most valuable lesson in life. You no longer need to lie about who you are. This can be a painful realization. Your lies can be prettier than your truth. A soulmate says “show me your uglies” and though they may not like the lies you’ve told yourself and others – they stick around and help you restore authenticity. The little lies may be pretty but the authentic you is stunning both to your soulmate and the world.

In my life I have made some pretty difficult decisions and some enormous mistakes. I have hidden past embarrassments, lied to myself about my own personal foibles and lied to others about my short-comings. Meeting my Soul Mate released the demons. Will the real me please stand up? Yes, with pride.

2. You Learn About New Ways To Have Fun

When your Soul Mate walks, runs or falls into your life suddenly you have a lot more fun. You do things you never thought you could do. You take up skiing, you learn to speak German, you read to each other in bed – and you laugh during sex. Things that are fun – are a lot more fun. Things you thought you could not enjoy – become enjoyable. Your Soul Mate is your play mate.

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3. You Find Meaning In The Mundane

You are folding laundry with your Soul Mate and your eyes meet his. He is there and you are there. In that moment there is magic. You realize that the best moment of your life may be when he is holding one end of the sheet and you are holding the other. It’s like the dogs eating spaghetti in Lady & The Tramp.

4. You May Be Out Of Sync

You and you Soul Mate may not always be in sync. I have had moments where I have felt incredibly connected to him and he has been thinking about hockey. I have come to understand through my Soul Mate that it is okay if we are having different experiences at different times. This is your Soul Mate – he’ll stick around: you’ll get another shot at this kind of moment. It’s also funny in retrospect. I am gazing at him with love and longing and he is coming to grips with The Canucks decision to trade Luongo.

When you meet your Soul Mate you realize that there are indescribable things that make them perfect for you. You may not go sailing with your Soul Mate but you sure do like the cut of their jib. There is something about their toed-in walk, the width of their shoulders, the curve of their neck, their gummy smile, their unibrow, their lispy talk, the callouses on their hands… There are things that you find absolutely irresistible about them that probably wouldn’t be listed together on the top ten list of any other person in the world but they really do it for you.

5. You’re There When They’re Down

Your Soul Mate is having a bad day. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  When you have a Soul Mate you finally realize that you need to do what they need to help them – not what you would like to do. You listen. You don’t talk. You don’t make things better. You understand. You wait until the dust has settled and bring on the chips, the haagen daz, the foot massage. You do what is needed because you understand this is one of the days your Soul Mate needs to release the poison before you help heal the wound.

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6. You Read Their Mind

Your Soul Mate sends out waves that only you pick up on. You sense, from across a crowded room, that they need to be extricated from a dire conversation with a dour companion. You burst into laughter with them as they merely think a funny thought. You nod your head in agreement as they lift an eyebrow in response to an irrational proclamation. In short – you have a Soul Code with your Soul Mate.

7. You Make Your Soul Mate Better

It is a popular idea, a sweet idea, that your Soul Mate accepts you as you are. Well, I don’t know about you but I have some pretty ugly scars and I don’t mean my stretch marks. So does my Soul Mate. It is my job and it is his job to say hey, you have a little scar tissue built up here and you are using it as an excuse to behave in a very unflattering way.

Take my stretch marks. My stretch marks are no reason whatsoever to prevent me from swimming with my son. My lack of facility with numbers does not allow me to be a bad bookkeeper. A frustrating day at work does give my Soul Mate a free pass for the grouchies when he walks in the door. We make each other better by acknowledging that each of us can be or do better. It does not mean we love less or are not accepting our Soul Mate. We accept and expect the best of them and offer the best of ourselves.

8. Your Heart Goes Boom When Your Soul Mate Is In The Room

Zing go the strings of your heart. Over and over again. My husband is my Soul Mate and he takes my breath away. He can also make me supernaturally enraged but that’s another story for another article. Getting back to the taking my breath away part. He does. It’s not any one of the innumerable things about him that makes my heart skip a beat it’s the all of him. In his entirety, in an inexplicable way… he is it for me. No one can compete.

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9. Your Soul Mate Is A Surprise

Your Soul Mate may not be who you thought he would be. I thought my soul mate would be an Atticus Finch type and we’d live a child-free life on Park Avenue, read the New York Times in our matching pajamas in bed. Imagine my surprise when I met my lumberjack of a husband and went to live in his off the grid cabin in the woods. Then at the ripe old age of 44 I and the lumberjack (who is 50) have a baby. Surprise! He doesn’t even wear pajamas but he does make a mean cup of coffee and it’s certainly a pleasure to watch him chop wood without a shirt on. Lumberjacks stay pretty fit from all that chopping wood and hauling water.

10. Your Soul Mate Is Not You

When you finally meet your Soul Mate you understand that the love your your life, the mate for your soul, does not have to be just like you. It’s not important that you share a sense of humour, read the same books or hold the same opinions. You may not. What you do have is the spark that comes from divergent ways of seeing the world. This is not opposites attracting but finding the piece of the puzzle that fits.

It doesn’t mean you were not complete prior to meeting your Soul Mate – it means that your Soul Mate gives you the strength or ability to be more with the goods you were given. It’s like an upgrade – suddenly the you machine runs much better. Your brain expands when you’re with your Soul Mate. You are able to see life in an entirely new way. It is because you are so close and have such respect for one another that you can see the world through their eyes.

11. You Trust Your Soul Mate

Your Soul Mate can be trusted with your secrets, your fears and the keys to your car. There is never a moment of doubt. Your Soul Mate is safe as houses. The older you grow the more you realize that most people are fighting for themselves. Expect your Soul Mate. Your Soul Mate is also fighting for you and he is the one you completely trust.

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12. You Feel At Home

Speaking of houses…your Soul Mate is your home base. Whether you are living in a cabin in the woods, a penthouse on Park Avenue or a house in the suburbs you are finally and inextricably home. Your Soul Mate is your own personal feeling of home.

13. You Are Free

Your Soul Mate doesn’t mind if you leave for a while. If you have to travel for work or you need to be alone for a day or two your Soul Mate can let you have that freedom. A Soul Mate understands that something stronger than physical presence tethers your souls together. When your Soul Mate is free… you are free.

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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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