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BellaOnline's Mental Health Editor

Do You Feel Understood

Do you ever feel as if you could be talking a foreign language sometimes? That everything you say is taken the wrong way or mis-understood? It can be exhausting.

The reason could be that most of us have an agenda when we are with someone. There is a process that goes on unconsciously within us which either makes us feel receptive or defensive towards another.

Depending on past experiences with the person you are engaging with, your last encounter with them, or your feelings towards them; will determine the quality of your interaction with them.

When you approach someone with a negative memory of them, or expecting them to be ‘off’ with you, you set the tone for the interaction. In these circumstances it is common for the experience to be unpleasant for all involved.

Another instance of not being understood or heard can arise if you are feeling down one day and the people you meet do not notice or care to ask if you’re ok. They carry on regardless of whether you are involved in the conversation or not.

Most conversations are based on taking turns to speak, and not really listening to each other because you are too busy formulating what to say next. No-one really hears the other.

When you are really heard, and the person in front of you listens to you and asks questions and notices your demeanour you generally feel good with that person. On the other hand, if you are not acknowledged while dealing with difficult emotions or challenging situations it can create an alienation between you both.

Being heard can be one of the rarest experiences we have as humans. We all seem to have lots to talk about, however, no-one is listening to what is being said.

Next time you are trying to be understood try this:

* Approach the person from a place of calm with no thought of past experiences.
* Say what you have to say by considering the following: what do I want them to know? What are my reasons for saying what I want to say? What outcome do I hope to achieve from the interaction?
* Once you’ve said what you want to, don’t add anymore, wait for a response
* Hear the response and reply again in a considered way

When you are considered in your speech and clear about what outcome you hope to achieve there is more chance of a productive exchange.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Tracy Hamilton. All rights reserved.
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