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One of the most important ways we can strengthen our relationships with others is to show our respect by actively listening. By the same token, when we feel heard, we also tend to feel respected. Thus, it is helpful to learn the essential skills of being a good listener, allowing us not only to listen actively, but also model that process to others and be able to ask them to do the same for us. Here are the steps to active listening:

  1. Listen to understand (rather than to formulate an answer/comeback).
  2. Clear your mind and remain silent (offering visual and verbal feedback that shows you are listening).
  3. Ask the person to expand or clarify (Tell me more… Could you give me an example? How did you feel… What happened next?).
  4. Reflect the other person's thoughts and feelings (It sounds like…. Have I got that right?)

Now complete this journal entry.

Click on the Submit Assignment button in the top right of this window and type your journal entry into the text box. When finished, click the Submit Assignment button at the bottom of the the page. 

  1. Describe a time when you felt disrespected. In the box below, present the experience as if it is a scene from a novel. Describe the setting of where the event took place. Explain who was there. Show what they did and said. Explain how you felt.
  2. In the box below, describe the same experience a second time, but this time revise what people said and did in a way that would have left you feeling fully respected. In this revision of history, have everyone speak and behave in ways that would have changed the outcomes and experiences for the better, leaving you feeling fully respected.

Diving Deep: How did knowing more about active listening help you revise the situation?