Listen to Someone and You Empower Them

There are some situations that beg us to listen and to respond in affirmation.

These are particularly the kinds of circumstances where people with us are vulnerable.

The amazing thing about vulnerability, though – and this is power – is the vulnerable moment is ripe for either the creation or destruction of confidence.

Because hearts are open in vulnerability, hearts are in ‘record’ mode. Experiences are taken within the fathoms of memory.

If we treat the person with disdain, in their vulnerable moment, we can observe their spirit fall into an abyss, before they recover. They may recover in a moment or an hour or a day, but the gravity in the experience is recorded in the same way trauma experiences are.

See the destructive power in the abuse of others? Sadly, hardly anyone has not given or received such abuse.

Now, here is the opportunity.

Here is what we can do to build into lives by building others up.

Especially in the vulnerable moment, when persons before us are in ‘record’ mode, when they’re ripe and ready to encode the experience they have with us, is the moment to listen, to affirm, to go there way, to be gentle and kind. Especially in the vulnerable moment, we care for the vulnerability of this soul when we listen and go gently with them.

As we do this, God does something in our midst – in us, between them and us, and even in them – to make of the moment something of Him.

Such moments are the making of belief, because God is present and real in the connection achieved. Overtures of compassion and kindness through gentleness and respect are given and received. And particularly the person receiving observes the goodness of God in the giver of encouragement and in the moment itself.

We think trauma experiences are powerfully negative, and they are!

But ever more power is in the kindness of God that empowers someone in that listening moment.

Think about the times in your own life where you simply needed to be heard. Think about how open you were. Remember how receptive you were to both help and harm (when someone decided not to care). Recall where you were met and where you were missed. You know how vulnerable you were.

No matter how tough we are we have all had these moments.

It’s our privilege and pleasure to listen to those who are undergoing trial, and we especially realise this when we’ve been on the receiving end of such care.

The Key to Being an Encourager

In commending a friend about their ability to encourage, their capacity for encouragement, they explained with profound simplicity the wherewithal:

‘I’m learning to speak promptly when God leads

and not just think good things about people.’

See the profundity in this statement?

Immediately I sensed that this is the key to being an encourager. Yes, it requires the abiding heart. Yes, it requires the ability to discern the opportunity of knowing when something noteworthy has been done by someone – ‘when God leads’. But how often do we see something good done, with a good heart that sees good done, and not pipe up? Of course, then there’s the delivery too – to deliver an encouragement that will hit the target with the kind and gentle power of love.

There’s a spirit of boldness, or of giving, in every encouragement delivered. This is speaking promptly, without delay, which is the sense of faith to execute what the heart sees. To just do it. This is a trust in our ability to say a thing for love’s sake, even if occasionally it will come out wrong, which is doubly powerful when we chase the error up and amend it in flow.

To speak promptly is to see and then to love in the immediacy of the moment. This is a good training tool for any disciple of Christ – especially if one is keen to grow in the practice of gratitude – for what else is gratitude than the speaking of good things for love?

Learning to speak promptly when God leads and not just thinking good things about people is a commitment to love, for thinking good things about people is admirable and desirable, but it’s also insufficient if we wish to make a difference as difference-makers in our world.

Certainly, thinking good things about people is incredibly wise on the journey of life.

The capacity and resolve to act promptly on the Lord’s leading is the key to giving loving encouragement.

There’s hardly a more loving thing to do than to encourage someone. An act of random kindness, a smile, a kind word, the uttering of something virtuous for a virtue seen in another, thankfulness for another’s gift. All these and more are the practice of holiness.

Keep It Simple and Communicate

Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Here is a story I read about Albert Einstein:

Einstein attended a lecture by a professor, along with a lot of other people. The professor made the subject so complex, Einstein believed the audience needed to be enlightened by presenting it more simply. So he went onto the platform and explained in simple terms what the professor had tried to convey.

We block the understanding of others with the use of the wrong words. Why does this happen?:

Pride is the first reason.

Whether writing or speaking, we exhibit the wrong kind of pride when big words are used, the audience may not understand. Consequently, they may be trying to figure out what was just said, while we have perhaps gone on to the next point. A good communicator analyzes their potential audience and crafts what is being said accordingly.

Someone I knew did this when he spoke in presentations, and wouldn’t take advice to the contrary. He seemed to think it was the “job” of the audience to be intellectual enough to understand what he was saying. I responded, “Not if you want to communicate.”

Communicating effectively is not about “dumbing down” what we are trying to get across to our listeners. Neither is it about being uncomfortable using a vocabulary we are unfamiliar with.

The second reason: Vocabulary is a tool.

A rock sculptor uses different chisels to cut away the desired amount of rock. A wide one would not be appropriate to remove a narrow amount of the surface he is working on, and vice-versa.

A good teacher would not use technical words to help her kindergarten class to learn a scientific concept. She would use appropriate language to help her students understand.

Jesus taught mostly common laborers, farmers, and fishermen. He did not use lofty theological examples that none of them could comprehend. He used stories, called parables, that contained deep meanings, but said in a simple way.

Vocabulary is a tool we must use wisely. We can put countless hours in researching and writing and presenting what we have to offer as a writer or speaker. There may be only one chance to make a good impression before we lose a person forever as a reader, listener, and supporter. Do we dare to take the chance we may offend them or leave them with little understanding of what we said in whatever medium of contact?

I recently found a story about Albert Einstein that fits perfectly in this article. Much can be learned from him if you will study what he said and did. I believe you will have more friends and followers if you learn to speak and write simply so you can be understood.

The Enneagram Personality Types

The Perfectionist

These are people with a need to get things right. Perfectionists are usually critical, idealistic, and judgmental. Decisions are made with an internalized ‘single correct way’ in mind. Their work is meant to reflect extremely high standards set by themselves. Continually, they are teaching, preaching, and monitoring others. This causes others to feel nit-picked or rejected. Perfectionist fiercest anger is directed toward themselves. At their best, Perfectionists are honest, idealistic, visionaries. They have a clear vision of what should be, with the ability to direct others.

The Helper

Helpers strive to be appreciated. They give with the intention of reciprocal gratitude. Helpers are relationship oriented with an emotionally seductive attitude. Sweet and manipulative, helpers make themselves indispensable to and adored by others. This is their path to influence and seek power. Helpers have impeccable radar for others feeling, preferences, and appetites. They excel in customer services, are genuinely sensitive, and humble. Helpers serve and bring out the best in others.

The Producer

Producers are more than likely workaholics. They enjoy being applauded for getting the job done. Producers can be high performing, enthusiastic, and competitive. It is essential that they be rewarded for their achievements. Some might say that Producers are self involved and obsessed with image. They come off as insensitive, superficial, artificial and expedient. Producers are often seen merely as their resume. At their best Producers are eager, efficient leaders with the ability to problem solve and influence others.

The Connoisseur

It is easy for a Connoisseur to gravitate toward the beautiful, authentic, true and unusual. These people are romantic and melancholic. Connoisseurs manifest impeccable taste within their concerns. They look for deeper meaning underneath the surface. Feelings are what drive their decisions. Connoisseurs seem to be satisfied with the impeccable. They can seem intense or snooty. At their best they are creative and imaginable. Connoisseurs love the attractiveness, taste, and elegance in the world.

The Sage

Sages seek mastery over their personal domains. They are emotionally detached. It is said that sages observe the world from safe vantage points. Here they can stockpile facts, theories, and information. Sages do not rely on relationships but instead camouflage themselves and minimize needs. Others see them as emotionally detached, as they hide behind whatever they can find. At best, Sages are sensitive, brilliant, respectful, intense, entrepreneurs. Committed and most wizards in their fields.

The Troubleshooter

Paranoid at best, troubleshooters are preoccupied with worse case scenarios. Trust is a huge issue. They are over prepared and obsessed with what could possibly go wrong. Others may find their procrastination frustrating. Troubleshooters can be faithful, imaginative, original thinkers, intuitive, committed, sensitive, and courageous. They are known for defending their team, their boss, and themselves. Troubleshooters are terrific at pointing out pitfalls and hidden motives along the way.

The Visionary

Visionaries stay positive and keep all options open. They engage, plan, and have high energy romances. Visionaries have difficulty growing up. They are known as superficial Peter Pans. It is not easy for visionaries to consider pitfalls. Therefore, they avoid completion, pain, conflict, ordinary commitments, and routine work. Although they initiate progress they often times neglect to follow through. The best Visionaries are gifted, witty, inspirational, and charming. Their ideas and enthusiasm pull people toward them.

The Top Dog

Power and control are what Top Dogs seek. They express their feelings freely and loudly. Top Dogs are described to be domineering and blunt. They loudly seek out confrontations believing the truth often comes out in a fight. They focus on their own powers and others shortcomings. Others may be repelled by their flamboyant bullying. At best Top Dogs are nurturing of the underdogs with whom they are in charge of.

The Mediator

Mediators seek to include all people and all points of view. These people compromise easily. They can see the feelings, needs, and enthusiasms of others. Others may see Mediators as neglectful or spacey. At their best, mediators lead by inspiring others. They are warm and openhearted individuals. Mediators are naturally in touch with the flow of the group. Therefore, mediators are excellent diplomats, team builders, and boundary spanners.

The Dangers of Social Media and In-Laws

Social media has become the “go-to” place for sharing what is going on in our lives, whether that is our day-to-day experiences, special moments, pictures, feelings, or anything else we want others to know. Facebook, Instagram, and texting (among others) have also become the way many choose to specifically connect or communicate with others-sometimes it’s the only way they will do so.

As we look at this trend, it is becoming more prevalent with each new “generational” user of cell phones, tablets, and so on. Depending on which media you use the rationale is: it is fast; one does not have to stop what he or she is doing to talk with others; it’s easy; one can share information to a large group of people all at once, instead of individually; it allows you to avoid actually talking to a specific person if you don’t want; you can communicate at your convenience, and the list goes on.

As great as this new technology can be, there are things to think about when you use it as the way you interact with your friends and family, and particularly when your in-laws are part of your “network.” As convenient as these methods are, they lack emotional connection. You cannot feel the impact your words have on others nor have them experience the emotional impact they may have had on you with what they said; you cannot “read” the other person based on what they wrote on Facebook or in their text. Worse yet, you may misread the intent behind what they have written. In other words, you are completely removing the human element between you and others.

When these are your preferred methods of communication how do you emotionally connect with those that matter to you (or should matter to you)? How do you create any sense of intimacy or personal attachment? How do you build on your relationships so that they become deeper, more vibrant, and more valuable to you?

When you only connect with loved ones through social media you open the door for misperceptions and miscommunication. Let me give you a scenario:

Donna and her daughter-in-law Beth have somewhat of a tense relationship. They have had some “situations” come up between them, and yet they have not directly spoken with each other so as to resolve them. On the outside they appear to get along, but this tension seems to lie just below the surface. Donna feels it; she doesn’t know if Beth feels it as well.

Donna tries reaching out; first through phone calls, but with no response. This goes on for months, with Donna calling and leaving messages, but getting nothing from her daughter-in-law. She becomes a bit frantic, as she doesn’t know what to do to connect with her. She finally reaches out to her son in hopes that he can shed some light on things. “Mom, Beth would prefer you text her. She’s really busy and finds talking on the phone too confining.”

Donna doesn’t understand how she and Beth can have a relationship, or better yet how they can get to a better place in their relationship through texting, but she is willing to try anything to make a connection with her daughter-in-law. She just wants them to have some kind of comfortable relationship. Frustrated that she can’t talk to Beth herself, Donna relinquishes. As upbeat as she can muster she says to her son, “OK then, I will text her.”

Donna waits a while so that she does not appear too pushy or overbearing (as these are words Beth has used to describe her at times). She then sends Beth a text message. She gets no response.

How should Donna interpret Beth’s lack of responsiveness? Is Beth using this method of interaction-texting-as a way to avoid having to deal with the issues she has with her mother-in-law? Is she truly so busy that she is unable to make the time to respond? How does Donna know the intent behind Beth’s lack of responsiveness? Can either one of these women change (and make better) their relationship if there is no avenue open for talking to one another?

Or, how about Rachel who posts a statement on Facebook about going out to dinner with a friend right after her in-laws leave, stating it is a much-needed night out. Her mother-in-law sees the comment and posts a remark about Rachel’s much needed night out. When she doesn’t hear a joking commentary from Rachel, her mother-in-law begins to fret, almost to the point of panic. She fears she has offended Rachel and doesn’t know what to do. Eventually Rachel touches base with her mother-in-law, completely unaware that she has been literally wringing her hands with worry. Her mother-in-law goes into a lengthy apology about her post on Rachel’s Facebook page, after which Rachel laughs and says, “Your comment didn’t bother me in the least. I’m sure you know by now if it had, I would have said something right away to you.”

In both of these situations one of the people involved is feeling anxious about what to do next. It places the relationship in such a precarious situation. This less-than-personal way of interacting leaves the door wide open for so much miscommunication and misperception. These interactions, and thus the relationship itself, can easily get out of hand and spiral into a black hole of negativity.

Many of you may say, “My friends and family know me. They know when I am kidding around, teasing, or just needing to vent. They don’t take things personally. I wish my in-laws weren’t so sensitive.” I’m sure this is true, however most likely a huge difference between your friends or family and your in-laws is that they have a history with you. They have had time to build a relationship with you through face-to-face interactions. They have likely had years to see you in all kinds of situations and develop give-and-take with you. Over this time they have learned (along with you) how to resolve issues when they arise, and so when posts or texts are made and read each person “gets” you and the intent behind the post or text.

In-laws, on the other hand, are not privy to all your nuances and “inside” ways of communicating,at least not yet – not until you’ve built a more intimate and personal relationship with them. To do this, however, you need to create face-to-face time with them that allows you to learn who they are while they learn about you. Just like you’ve done with your friends and family you need to work through whatever issues you have with your in-laws (and they with you) so that you can create that solid foundation of which all relationship are based.

Easy Steps To Design Your Own Wedding Dress

Choosing a dress may take a good deal of time, but choosing a wedding dress will take much more time that you can imagine. What do you do when you don’t find the outfit you need? The best way is to design one on your own. If you have no idea how to go about designing your own wedding dress, we suggest that you give a go to the three options given below.

1. Work with a Designer

If you have a big budget, you can work with any designer for creating a custom gown. You can hire an expensive designer with a lot of experience under their belt. But this may not be a good option for those on a budget. If this sounds like you, you can choose a less expensive professional.

So, how can you choose one? First of all, you can search for a local pro on the internet. One found, you could see them in person to ensure the dress is designed to your needs.

This is an ideal option for you if you are ready to shell out a bit extra money for a design that can’t be found in the market.

2. Use an Online Service Provider

If you don’t find a good local designer or the cost is beyond your budget, you can go ahead and design the dress yourself.

You can search online for a company that offers dress-designing services. The companies offer standard designers that can be customized based on the client’s needs.

If you have tried many outfits but haven’t found the best one, this may be a good choice for you. You can make a lot of changes. For instance, you can add straps or selves. In the same way, you can modify the neckline.

3. Make Modifications

At times, a dress is almost complete and needs only some finishing touches. What do you need to do in this case? Ideally, it’s better to begin with an outfit that has been made already.

What you need to do is opt for a gown that features a structure and style that appeals to you. You can easily design one that can satisfy your personal preferences. For instance, if you add lace sleeves or a beaded sash, it will beautify a plain design. Now, if you are not good at sewing, we suggest that you hire a local tailor.

Remember: this option may take a lot more time. You can make several changes until the dress is up to the mark. The great thing about this option is that it won’t cost you a good deal of money, thus saving you a lot of bucks. If you are on a budget, this option may be a great choice for, especially if custom details are required.

The takeaway

Long story short, if you put in a bit of time, money and thought for making a wedding dress, you can save a lot of money. At the same time, you will be able to get an outfit that will be exactly as per your needs. Hopefully, this will help.

Weddings Rings – Unique Eco-Friendly Rings

Many people today are more and more interested in being “Eco Friendly” where possible. This willingness to be Eco Friendly is a driving factor behind many people in their everyday lives. Sometimes it is the big things in life, such as electric cars; sometimes it is the small things, such as recycling that plastic bottle. The world we live in today is so different than the world of yesterday, people care a lot about the environment and want to make changes.

There is a growing demand for all things to be more environmentally sound and this is starting to make an impact in the choices people make for that special day, their Wedding.

To help with this Eco Friendly wood rings are becoming more and more popular as Wedding Bands/Rings. Wood is naturally beautiful and crafted correctly; it provides a band of unrivalled beauty and unmistakable quality.

Getting a pair of wood rings shows not only your commitment to each other but also to the environment. Let the wood compliment your beauty on the day.

Selecting the right wood is critical, most popular are Walnut, Ash and Oak, good hardwoods that have a classic timeless beauty. However, if you want a specific wood this usually can be arranged via a custom set of rings. It is generally a good idea to stick with one of the hardwoods, as their longevity is far greater than the softwoods. Each type of wood has its own characteristics and the different grains and colours offer a myriad of choices.

Once you have selected the right wood for you, it is then important that you speak to your vendor and enquire about the source of the wood. Where did it come from? Is it from an ethical managed forest? Is it recycled or repurposed wood? It is important to understand where the materials come to ensure the rings for special day are what you desired an Eco Friendly Wood ring. This is especially important if you are having custom wood rings created, as this is normally done from wood that has to be purchased specially in for you, therefore it is important to ask that question of where is it coming from.

To add that extra bit of magic they say a ring crafted in the ancient hills of Celtic and Viking settlements adds that extra touch of wonder, so it is important to understand where your ring is made as well.

She Was Emotionally Unavailable

When I met the woman who I would go on to spend a number of months with in 2013, I remember seeing her from a certain angle and thinking about how much she looked like my mother. It wouldn’t be accurate for me to say that this was something that I consciously thought about, though, as this was something that I only just picked up on.

If I had been completely caught up in the moment, I wouldn’t have even noticed this. But while I was able to step back and to see this, this wasn’t something that had much of an effect as time went by.

Pulled In

After I had met her for the first time, I was keen to see her again. So, even though I didn’t know a great deal about her, I felt extremely attracted to her.

What helped was that she also wanted to get together again, and this meant that we got together a number of days later. When I first met her I wasn’t looking for anything serious, but this soon changed.

The Previous Year

Before we got together, I had read a number of books on child abuse, one about emotionally absent mothers, and I had done a fair amount of healing work, so it wasn’t as though my head was completely in the clouds. In many ways, I felt as though I was ready to have a relationship with a woman.

I didn’t know anything about her history, but this all changed when she started to speak about her ex. From what I can remember, this was a guy who had a child and he lived over a hundred miles away.

A Red Flag

And after she told me some of the things that he had said, it sounded as though he was verbally abusive. I thought it was strange that she was still talking about this guy, but I think that I soon put this to one side.

However, after a little while I started to think about how I was with a woman who was emotionally unavailable. Along with what she had said about her ex, there was also a moment when she said about how she would like to settle down.

I Felt Invisible

She had found someone who was different, but it wasn’t possible for her to embrace the person who was in front of her. Her ex was then someone who treated her badly, yet she was still attached to him.

Interestingly, I was reading a book called Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes at the time, and this books looks into how we can be attracted to people as a result of the trauma that we are carrying. This book caught her eye when she got out of my car one morning, and she said that it might be a good idea for her to read it.

The End

When we got together to talk about what was going on between us, she sad that she wasn’t ready to settle down and that she wanted to get to know herself, or something similar. She also questioned if we he had anything in common.

I soon came to the conclusion that I was with someone who hadn’t got over their ex, which was partly why she wasn’t unavailable. In a way, my purpose was simply to take her mind off him and to make her feel better.

It Was Destined To Happen

I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what was going on for her, though; I was more interested in what was going on for me. Ultimately, I had attracted a woman into my life who was emotionally unavailable.

I was brought up by a mother who was also emotionally unavailable, so it was to be expected that I would have been drawn to this woman. Consciously, I wanted to find a woman who was available, but at a deeper level, this was what felt comfortable.

A Mirror

If I had focused on what was going on for her and ignored the part that I had played, it would have caused me to see myself as a victim. In reality, this was someone who was mirroing back what was going on within me.

The time had come for me to face what was taking place within me and to heal my emotional wounds. I came to see that the women I had been with in the past were also emotionally unavailable.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. His current projects include ‘A Dialogue With The Heart’ and ‘Communication Made Easy’.

A Social Truth That Can Set You Socially Free

LOOKING into his eyes, I saw it. He is a confident, mature young man; a leader comfortable in himself. No real visible fear in him.

Yet, there was a glimpse into his very human heart that showed me we have the capacity to draw social confidence from this truth: every person, no matter how confident they appear, is vulnerable to rejection.

We know it as we understand ourselves. We all crave acceptance. We’ll all driven to comparison. We may falsely believe we’re alone in our disadvantage; that nobody else feels quite as vulnerable as we do. It’s a lie. Change anyone’s circumstances to the negative and their light darkens. They enter a turmoil any human being finds challenging. And it’s their character that determines their response.

As we encounter our fellow human being, male or female, old or young, advantaged or disadvantaged, we encounter someone like us. We’re more the same than we’re different.

As we look into another person’s eyes, curious to peer into the windows of their soul, inherently interested in them, we can gain confidence that we are in fact encountering a form of ourselves.

Because they’re human and we too, also, are human, we grasp how tenuous interaction is – we know we can upset them as they too might be able to upset us. See how all people are vulnerable? See how our fear for upsetting people is our acknowledgement that they’re vulnerable – that we’re not the only vulnerable ones.

We all have the capacity for fear because we all need to love and be loved. Understand this about the person we’re anxious with and suddenly we’re less anxious.

Social anxiety builds when we magnify our vulnerabilities and lessen another’s. But we are all vulnerable.

Letting Go and Starting Afresh

When I was living in the Algarve, Portugal I had the opportunity of going on a Vision Quest. We were taken to a rugged area in the vicinity of Loulé and each of us set off in the direction that called to us. Even though we were physically quite close to each other, because of all the large rocks in the region it felt like we were completely alone.

I sat down quietly and waited for my message. After some time a bee flew past and alighted on a nearby flower. I watched this bee intently while it was going about its business and came to realise that it never alighted on a dead flower – only on the live ones. I got to thinking about human behaviour and came to the conclusion that we could learn a lot from bees.

How often do we hold onto dead relationships, jobs and situations – always hoping that they will change, when in fact we should be thanking them for the learning, letting go and walking away – dashing off to embrace new relationships and learning.

How much pain do we cause ourselves through this process of holding on, and to what advantage? Holding onto the past not only keeps us in a painful state, but it stunts our growth – both physically and spiritually.

I have stopped sending Christmas cards. This has always been a December ritual, though for the past few years it hasn’t really resonated with me at all. However, this year every fibre of my being rebelled against this habit of mine! I had this heightened sense of dread – which seemed excessive for something as trivial as writing cards, but was really about something much deeper going on in my psyche. The truth is that some of the people I sent cards to I don’t even know anymore. It’s a once a year friendship – habit forming on both sides I would think. Fundamentally, dead relationships!

Instead, I phoned a few friends on Christmas Day and they were both delighted and surprised to hear from me. I will be contacting others in January and suggesting that we reignite our friendships – have conversations throughout the year, keeping up on what is happening in each others lives. Our friendships will either change and grow into something new, or fade away if we find that we no longer have anything in common, but at least there will be active movement, rather than holding onto the past, which is long gone and stagnant.

This decision has left me feeling lighter and freer – I have dispensed with an action which was tethering me to having to do a certain thing at a certain time. I don’t know about you, but I am craving freedom of action and expression more and more these days – in line with the planetary changes which are in full swing. These are interesting times indeed!

I wish you all a very happy letting go period and may all the flowers that you land on be live ones!

Have you let go of anything recently which had become an uncomfortable habit?

Sue is the Founder of Soulfully Connecting. The idea behind Soulfully Connecting is to demonstrate that there are other ways of living which can heal the earth, the animal kingdom and ourselves. She is passionate about people having freedom of choice, which is only possible when they know about all the options.