Emotional Responding

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand.  Most people listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey



Do you know how to respond to the emotional needs of others?  Consider your relationships for a moment, your friends, family members, children or partner.  Do you feel that you are able to respond to their emotional needs?

Every person has emotional needs which they seek fulfillment for.  Some can be met on your own or with the help from some one else.  Consider the following needs both for yourself and for those you are in a relationship with:

  • To be loved, trusted, comforted, confident, respected, needed, believed, wanted, listened to
  • To belong, relax, trust, love
  • Spirtual needs
  • Intimacy needs

In responding to the emotional needs of others, the following would be unhelpful approaches:

  • Neglect “you can figure it out on your own”
  • Criticism “lighten up, it’s not that bad”
  • Advice “next time you should…”
  • Minimize “it’s really not that big of a deal”
  • Anger “that makes me so mad!”
  • Self reflection “that happened to me once”
  • Complaints “that was so embarassing”
  • Avoidance – using humor to change the subject

Responding to emotional needs in the following ways would be more helpful to those you care about:

  • Listen for their need- which one is are looking for to be met?
  • Listen carefully- give them your full attention, do not do something else at the same time you are attempting to listen.  This will make the other person feel dismissed.  As you listen be sure that you are understanding.
  • Listen more- take in what they are saying, do not formulate a response in your head as they are speaking.  Reflect back what they are saying, this will help them to feel heard.
  • Respond- show empathy, meet their need, do not make it about yourself! Use feeling words to communicate, “I am sorry you had to go through such sadness.”  Ask questions when appropriate; what do you need from me or what I can I do to be helpful?

These ideas just scratch the surface on meeting the needs of others in healthy manner.  We will continue to look at this topic in depth in future blog posts.  For now, try to implement these techniques with a loved one and pay attention to the results!

Reach Your Goals


“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass any way.” 

– Earl Nightingale

Have you ever set a goal for yourself and then sat back to think, this is impossible or too much?  Is it possible that you sabotage yourself before you even get started?

A lot of times people set a goal and then become anxious or paralyzed by the steps it takes to reach the goal.  Unfortunately you can’t wish the goal into existence, you have to do the work to make it happen.  This can often times feel like you are staring up at the top of a very big mountain with a heavy backpack on.  The quickest, easiest thing to do is drop the pack and walk away.  However, you are left feeling defeated and self-critical.

As the quote states, the time will pass anyways, so consider how you want to fill this time.  Would you rather use that time to make steps towards your goal or would you prefer to fill in other ways that are not goal-directed?

When you set a goal for yourself take some points into consideration:

  • Is it a realistic goal? The goal needs to be within your reach.  It is unrealistic you will feel defeated every time.
  • Is it an obtainable goal?  Is this a type of goal you can actually obtain? Or is it a goal you wish you could obtain?
  • What are the barriers to reaching this goal?  Try to plan ahead for these if you can, it will enhance your road to success.
  • What are small steps you can take to reach your goal?  Break it down, take it little by little so it doesn’t feel like a mountain.
  • Can you be okay if you don’t meet your goal within a certain time frame?  Time frames are limiting- if you don’t need one then let it go.  If you do not meet your expectation your will feel disappointed and discouraged.

Goals are attainable, start small and then go big.  Give yourself a chance for success.  Then maybe next time you will see that you can reach the top of that mountain!

Live in the Moment: Mindfulness


Are you familiar with the term mindfulness?  Also known as mediation, mindfulness is the ability to be aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical sensations.  This awareness is done in the moment in the absence of self-criticism.  Perhaps there have been times in your life where some one has said ‘be in the here-and-now’ or ‘live in the moment’.  They are really telling you to be mindful!

Ponder some of these questions- if you answer yes to any of them you may be struggling with the ability to be mindful:

  • While driving do you get lost and forget where you were going?
  • When you are having a converstaion with some one are you thinking about other things you need to be doing?
  • While reading a book you find your mind drifts off to other topics?
  • Do you forget where you put things seconds after walking away?

Learning the art of mindfulness will help you to be more present in the here-and-now.  It will help you focus on one thing at a time, soothe difficult emotions and identify and release judgmental thoughts.

Here is a simple technique to try and see if mindfulness is a solution for you.  Set a stopwatch for one minute, set the clock and put it to the side.  Spend the next minutes simply being in the moment.  After the minute is up take note of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors during that minute.  Did time go by quickly or slowly? Would you be able to add minutes if asked to?  Think about what the result of this exercise means to you.  The ability to be mindful can have a postive benefit on the mind, body and soul.

As Ernest Hemingway says,

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat and when you sleep, really sleep.

Try as much as possibly to be wholly alive with all your might and when you laugh, really laugh.

And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive.”