#WisdomWednesdays: The Power Of Actively Listening And Connecting With Others
We are constantly creating connections in everything we do. And the relationship we have with ourselves and other people—family, friends, and strangers alike—hone us in many ways. That’s why fostering deep interpersonal and intrapersonal connections is a life-long pursuit for many of us. It allows us to be at our highest selves and always come from a place of compassion and kindness. At the universal level, it creates a chain of positive reciprocity.
In this episode, Rosie and Tessa talk about three topics that would allow us to nurture our relationships with ourselves and others. First, they discuss what it means to be a mother and the concept of mothering yourself. Then, they delve into the practice of actively listening to others and how it helps foster trust and genuine connection. Finally, they share personal stranger encounters that show how powerful and life-changing interactions with strangers could be.
Tune in and be inspired to start connecting deeply with yourself and other people!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Discover how Rosie and Tessa view being a mother and what self-mothering is.
- Learn the essence of actively listening and how to become an active listener.
- Understand the power of strangers.
On Aging and the Decision to Have or Not Have Children
- Tessa feels a little nervous about aging sometimes because she has chosen not to have children.
- One of the reasons why Rosie wanted to have kids is she wanted somebody to take care of her. It’s what has happened historically and culturally.
- But there’s no guarantee your children will take care of you and not put you in a home when you age.
- Tessa’s parents decided to put her grandmother in a home. Meanwhile, Rosie's grandmother is living with her aunt and has always been living with family.
Becoming a Parent
- Rosie’s path has not been linear. She still desires a family, but it’s decreasing as she gets older.
- She believes that it will happen if it’s designed for her life. If it doesn’t, the desire will diminish and go away.
- People without children cannot imagine what it’s like to have kids. Meanwhile, people with children cannot imagine life without their children.
Tessa’s Relationship with Her Grandmother
- A grandparent’s love is different from that of a parent. Tessa’s parents' decision to put her grandmother in a home shocked her.
- There was a chasm that grew between her and her mother that took some time to heal.
- It was tough because Tessa wants to protect and make her grandmother feel loved.
- She understands that there are many reasons why a home for her grandma was the better choice. It’s a full-time job to take care of aging parents.
Rosie’s Relationships with Her Grandmother
- Rosie's grandmother raised her and her sister. Both of her parents worked full-time.
- She yearns for her grandmother whenever she doesn’t feel well.
- She was yearning for her mom when she had COVID. But she also wanted her grandmother to take care of her.
What Being a Mother Means
- Self-mothering is a self-care process for Tessa; it’s unconditional love.
- Rosie's idea of mothering means being aggressively protective yet all-encompassing in the most loving way.
- Rosie pondered some questions in her journey of becoming a parent: What is the definition of a mother? What does mothering mean to you? How do you mother yourself?
- The process of re-parenting and learning to mother yourself is a crucial part of adulthood.
- Tessa's mother now wants a friendship with Tessa because she feels like she did her job as a mother.
The Job of a Mother
- We constantly need to revisit our job of ensuring we feel loved and cared for as mothers to ourselves.
- The more we tune into mothering ourselves, the more we can feel safe in navigating our lives.
- Sometimes, we need to feel mothering from other people. You can utilize communities if you don't have a mother or lack a good relationship with yours.
- There are many “mothers” in tribal communities waiting to fill chasms with love.
- The world needs more of this feminine energy that comes from a place of compassion and kindness.
- We garner more connection if we start actively listening to each other. Active listening is a practice.
- Having a dialogue in your head while someone else is talking is not active listening.
- Active listening is witnessing someone telling a story without judgment.
- The whole concept behind actively listening is to establish not only a connection but also rapport and trust.
- Tune in to the full episode to learn the seven ways to becoming an active listener!
Practicing Active Listening in Teacher Training
- Rosie asks people to face each other, with one person speaking and another listening without interruption.
- Sometimes, we’re quick to reply to someone because we want to validate and reassure them. But it can stop the flow of emotion of the person speaking.
- After the person speaking stops sharing, the other person would paraphrase for them. Then, they switch positions.
- This practice builds a sense of trust that is important in building a community.
- Teacher training is a great way to create a safe space for yourself and build life-long relationships.
Listening vs. Hearing
- Hearing is different from listening. Listening requires you to go beneath the words, observe on an intuitive level, and connect from that place.
- If you pay attention, sometimes, nobody’s actually having a conversation in a room full of people.
- Tessa never practiced actively listening as a child because there was no model for it.
- 80% of the time in couples coaching, both parties want the same result. Often, the reason for the problem is they don't feel seen.
- All it takes to connect with someone profoundly is to step back and listen.
The Importance of Eye Contact
- Practicing eye contact is valuable.
- An exercise Rosie learned in training is to make eye contact without saying anything.
- Being in the presence of another actively while eye gazing is hard, even for a short time.
- The exercise involved the following: eye gaze, maintaining eye contact for 30 seconds, and complimenting the other person after the time's up.
- It was uncomfortable for Tessa and Christopher on the first two tries. On the third try, they transcended the silliness and started to see a deeper level of emotion.
Connecting with Strangers
- Next week’s guest is the author of the book The Power of Strangers. He says that constant distraction from our phones hinders us from making conversations.
- Rosie’s rule when traveling is she cannot be on her phone. She has to engage with the Uber and Lyft drivers she books.
- Tune in to the full episode to hear about Rosie’s most memorable travel conversation with a driver and how he is alive now because of the power of strangers!
- We have the power as people to change somebody else’s day.
The Power of Strangers
- The power of strangers shows up in Tessa’s life in the form of angels. She had a serendipitous experience with a stranger.
- At the line for her favorite coffee shop, she started to get impatient because the man before her was taking forever. It turned out that he wanted to pay for her coffee.
- Tessa paid it forward to the person behind her. It became a chain of reciprocity of generosity with the people in line.
- On another note, the new artwork in one of Tessa's favorite parks says, "Smile at five strangers today." But once you smile at one person, you won't stop at five.
- Tessa hopes to spread more positivity by smiling more at others and making smiles contagious.
5 Powerful Quotes
[12:01] “[Self-mothering] is very much a self-care process. It’s very much a way that I speak to myself. It’s very much a way that I say, ‘I love you unconditionally’.”
[17:31] “If we listened to each other, we would garner more connection, we would be more inclined to engage with other people, we would feel more confident, more grounded, more able to express ourselves fully.”
[19:50] “[Active listening] is really an act of witnessing and letting someone else do the speaking and holding space for them while they’re speaking.”
[26:59] “Listening requires you to go beneath the words and to observe on a heart level, on an intuitive level to try and see what’s underneath the words… Then, try to connect with them from that place.”
[43:22] “Let’s make smiles contagious. Let’s have a smile pandemic.”
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