Most people have a basic idea on what happiness means to them, for most it is the feeling of good emotions, participating in fun activities, surrounding yourself with good people and in general, you simply are enjoying your journey of life.
This is a great place to be however if you are not flourishing you may not be feeling very fulfilled. This this the next level happiness this is where you feel a deep sense of happiness, joy, love and contentment right down in the core of your being.
To flourish is to not just be happy on the surface and preach “positive quotes” but to have a real sense of fulfillment through growing as a person learning new things, goal achievement and the rewarding experience of contributing to others by making a positive impact on someone else’s life.
This can be done in a few ways the most simplest and inexpensive way is just to be kind, smile and say hi to someone. A good place to start is at home practice this with your family learn to connect with each other make the people in your life a priority give them your time and energy. Life is short and your time is the most precious thing you have to give.
Listen, yes this is a rare gift when given properly! Have you ever been in a conversation and the other person kept looking at their phone, a computer screen or everything else that was going on. How did that make you feel? Did you feel you were being heard? did you feel that you were being respected or important? or did you feel like you were an interruption to someones day and you and your words were of no significance? This is clearly not a happy feeling at all and yet it is a feeling that most people experience daily! The only way to change this is to start with ourselves by changing our behaviour and to make the person more valuable than the phone, computer etc..
It reminds me of a great quote by Jim Rohn
“For things to change, YOU have to change. For things to get better, YOU have to get better. For things to improve, YOU have to improve. When YOU grow, EVERYTHING in your life grows with you.”
This is the key to connection and yes there are many ways to connect with people and contribute and make a positive impact on someone else’s life but this is the very best place to start. Master this very basic gift of genuinely listening from your heart without distraction and showing the other person your undivided attention. Just think for one moment the last time someone did this for you, did you feel heard? did you feel connected? did you feel respected or important on some level? did you feel accepted? did you feel worthy? did you feel happiness and joy as you left that conversation? Yes? of course you did I bet you felt amazing!!
Here are some key tips to help you give your gift of listening:
Pay attention by putting your phone away to start with, then looking at the person- eye contact preferably. Whilst in conversation participate in active listening by focusing on the words they are saying and are not saying. What the message is and pay attention to the body language and the emotion they are displaying. Do not think about yourself or what you are going to say next, be present by Showing the person that you are listening through your body language such as the way you are standing or sitting. Where possible you will want to be standing front on or sitting next to them or to the side of them. By being involved in the conversation you will be nodding to acknowledge you understand them.
Provide feedback by paraphrasing or asking questions this will help you confirm you have understood the message they are trying to convey. This is not being a parrot but sincerely clarifying what you have heard.
Deferring judgement it is important to hear the person out, let them finish and absorb what they have said before responding. Sometimes to do this you may have to take a breath and remind yourself you are here for them not you. Remember that no two people are the same and we all think differently so you may not agree with that person but it does not make them wrong and you right, what you are hearing is their knowledge, experience and understanding of what they have told you. Maybe you can learn something from this? Maybe you have heard of something you can help them with but in a kind, helpful way.
Respond appropriately by being respectful with compassion and understand that while they are talking the spotlight is on them and give them the time and attention you would wish to be given. This is the “biggy” I know you are sitting there thinking about what you can say next or what they said is wrong and how to correct them. Instead just jump in their shoes and seriously look at it from their point of view how does it feel, does the conversation look different when you do this and how different could your response be now?
I hope this has helped you learn the basic difference between being happy and flourishing. For more help, insight or coaching feel free to reach out to me.
It’s time to flourish,
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