The importance of listening.

Ever feel like you just want to be heard? That when you talk to people they don’t seem to understand or you say something and it’s meaning is misinterpreted?

It happens to all of us, but when you are feeling vulnerable because something has happened to you, when you are feeling down, anxious or confused it can add to the worry you are already experiencing.

Communicating is difficult, you need common reference points to explain ideas and feelings, that are often abstract. It is even harder when in arguments with your partner or child, words can get twisted in the heat of the moment.

Money issues can bring difficulties and worry, especially in these economic times; it can be hard to say to family and friends that you don’t have enough to give at times like birthdays and anniversaries. Counselling can offer you a private, confidential, non-judgemental space in which you can explore your relationships, how they impact on you and how you can communicate more effectively.

Here are my Top Tips for communicating more effectively:

Think about what you want to say before you say it. If it’s a difficult subject it is easy to get confused, if necessary write a few bullet points on a piece of paper to help you remember what you want to say.

Listen to what the other person is trying to say. Are you really hearing what they are trying to say? Could you ask a question to clarify what they mean? Are you giving them space to finish what they are saying or are you talking over them?

Take turns. If you find things are getting heated and no-one is really listening to each other, think about how you can take things down a notch. Could you have some time apart (say for a cup of tea) and than come back to the discussion.

Be fair. Especially when dealing with teenagers it can be easy to threaten to ground them until they are 18. Is this realistic or fair? It is much better to use sanctions that you can follow through with, that are proportionate to the incident that has occurred. The same goes for partners and other family members. Try not to keep bringing up incidents that have already been dealt with, unless you feel there is something that is unresolved.

Try not to take on too much. Share out chores where possible, find ways to manage or delegate some of your workload and limit yourself to how much you take on, it will help you be less stressed and worried.

Be honest with yourself and others. Particularly when it comes to money, over-stretching your finances now can lead to more worry later. Be realistic about what you can afford, budget and look around for bargains. If finances are tight consider only buying gifts for the immediate family. Honesty is the foundation for trust in many relationships, are you being honest with yourself about your relationships and feelings?

Until next time

Charlotte.

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