One of our key needs as individuals is to be heard and understood by others. Our most important desire is to be accepted and our most important fear is rejection. This revolves around communication, communication and once more communication. Sadly, this often goes astray and many of us do not have effective and efficient skills in this respect. In my practice, it is the most prominent problem that features in specifically intimate and the work environments.

In Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” one of the habits is to first seek to understand and then to be understood. He uses a metaphor of a patient in an optometry practice. The patients seek an eye test for a new pair of spectacles. Without subjecting the patient to a test the optometrist removes his own spectacles and presents them to the patient. No matter how hard the patient tries to convince him that the fit is wrong, the optometrists persist.

In our communication with others, many of us attempt to do the same. We want to be heard at all costs and neglect to listen to, hear and feel others. Doing this could change the entire vibe of the communication process for the better. If we feel another is making a real attempt at understanding what we want to say, we are much more willing to do the same. Let each of us take the initiative for this process first!