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The Anatomy of Genuine Listening From a Traditional Chinese Character

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genuine listening
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The oxford dictionary defines “listen” as “giving one’s attention to a sound.While this definition captures an essential part of the definition, it oversimplifies the listening process. Listening involves giving! Giving a lot more than mere attention, but undivided attention.

Listening involves giving our heart, eyes, effort, love and so much more. The process of listening is so complex that no single definition can fully capture what really happens when one listens. As a result, from a single Traditional Chinese character, I will show that “genuine listening” involves more than auditory perception.

listen

(“聽“ pronounced “ting” ) which literally means “listen” is a phono-semantic compound made up of several distinctive parts, each carrying meaning that represents what we actually “give” when involved in the listening process. As can be seen from the character, the word “耳” which means “ear” is just part of a whole. Listening involves more than auditory perception. Genuine listening happens when instead of saying “I am all ears” we say “I am all present.

Genuine listening means giving our heart (心 – xin)

People come to us, because they need to be understood. Listening to them with empathy could be the greatest gift we will ever give them. Being heard and understood feels good because it is connected to our deepest sense of self-worth. Listening to someone with empathy means caring and acknowledging.

Empathetic listening can’t unfold when we are overwhelmed by worries. The golden rule is to be self-aware and to never get into a conversation when we’re not emotionally prepared. Any attempt to get into a conversation when we don’t feel like it will come across insincere and can’t be concealed.

Listening with empathy gives the other person a chance to unfold as they are and to fully express themselves. This meaning is conveyed by the character (心 pronounced “xin” meaning“Heart”).

“The most basic of human need is to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”- Ralph Nichols

Genuine listening means maintaining eye-contact (目)

When engaged in a conversation, words represent a fraction of the meaning that is conveyed. A lot more information is transmitted nonverbally. Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer researcher of body language in the 1950’s, found that the total impact of a message is about 7 percent verbal, 38 percent vocal and 55 percent nonverbal. Since then, many researchers have replicated his research and found consistent results.

Respectful eye-contact is the agent that dissolves the boundary between the verbal and nonverbal. It brings a pure quality of receptivity as it opens the window to content and context of the message. Rid yourself of all visual distractions, open the window to your soul to person talking to you. This is the meaning of the “eyes” part of the Chinese character “目”(pronounced “mu”) which literally means “eyes.”

Listening means giving your undivided attention as you would a king (王)

When was the last time you gave your undivided attention to someone you were talking to? The challenge here is to bring our full attention to the person whom we are talking to. Listening with undivided attention means do away with external distractions as well as with internal distractions.

Oftentimes we listen with our attention focused on how we are going to respond or refute what the other person is saying. Genuine listening is different, it involves listening with curiosity, compassion, and with the true purpose of understanding. Imagine being invited to a royal feast. Treat the other person as a king, your guest of honor, because they are. This is what these Chinese characters mean (pronounced “yi” meaning “one,” and 王 pronounced, “wang” meaning “king”).

“Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what isn’t said.” – Simon Sinek

Genuine listening assumes everyone is whole ()

The evidence of fingerprinting conveys an important truth that seems to elude us most of the time: each of us is unique. There are no “two” individuals with the same fingerprint. If we hold this simple fact upfront, we shall become more tolerant. We shall stop using our perceptual filters to judge others when difference of opinions emerges.

We become fully appreciative of the other, understanding that their uniqueness and wholeness are to be celebrated. This new paradigm shift will allow us to be whole again, and consequently make those around us feel the same. After all, if you see yourself as an individual worthy of being understood for who you are, why not do the same to others? This is the meaning conveyed by the last Chinese character 十 (shi), which means complete.

Imagine a world where everyone felt heard and understood. Wouldn’t you want to live in a such a world? I would! May these simple yet powerfully transformative principles inspire you to help create a culture built around empathy and love.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

My name is Bachir Bastien. Being the sparkle that will ignite the fire of possibilities in as many people as possible is how I define myself. I was born and raised in Haiti by my mother. My life has been a struggle since conception. I decided that I was going to use my stories to empower others. These experiences may have been lemons, but I can use them to make sweet lemonade. This is what I have decided to do. That became my life purpose. My first name Bachir means messenger of good news in Arabic; I have been doing just that for the past two years here in Taiwan through articles, workshops, seminars and speeches. I have seen students changing behaviors, increase in confidence, watched students conquer stage fright, etc. This in turn gives me the unwavering certitude that I can empower more people.

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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Life

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling

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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Life

Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.

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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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