I just had to do another blog after being with some family members. I don’t and won’t name and shame but it hit me that no-one was listening to the other. They were all talking over each other and at one point, which upset me, ignored one of the group, who, in my opinion, had something important to say but NO she was ignored and worse still was snapped at harshly with words such as ‘we’re not talking about your……’.

I think listening to this upset me more than usual because this used to happen to Bruce and as you know by now I lost Bruce to suicide on 5 May 2014. In my book the pain of losing my son: The Weight of Emptiness: Comfort and Hope for the loss of a loved one I wrote about how Bruce felt when this happened to him. You can buy this book and my other ones on amazon or if you want a signed copy then please email me.

So why this blog? Because I need and wanted to get the message out there that it is important to be kind and listen. What caught my eye was a heading ‘The courage to be kind starts with how we listen’.

I can’t guarantee that those I mention above will read this but hopefully this blog will make a difference to all.

I know, at the start of the pandemic in early 2020, we were all asked to be kind and think of all the frontline staff. At first we did seem to follow through and be kind but as the continuing challenging times took its toll it seemed that many (not all thank goodness) were less than kind to others. So please take heed.

It is obvious to most that being kind is very important and those in caring professions practice kindness. The challenge for us all is how do we create and keep a culture of kindness around us not just in the caring professions but everywhere.

A vital step is to recognise that kindness needs to be at the heart of everything you do, every relationship whether family, friends or colleagues and across organisations and the world in general.

It is also important to understand what is meant by ‘being kind’. You might be helping a friend in need or other small acts and these are certainly kind acts. But to create a worldwide culture of kindness we need to know that kindness is not just about these small acts but it is about developing ways of working with each other, talking to each other, no matter whether family, friends or work colleagues. You need to communicate effectively (you can find my effective communication framework in my Wellbeing series of books).

You must communicate with openness, honesty, compassion and mutual respect (and the latter was certainly lacking in the group I mention above). However, to communicate in this way requires you to listen and understand others. You need to listen without judging and interrupting. You need to be self-aware too. All this takes courage.

So my aim and hope is for all who read this to reflect on these words and have the courage to listen and communicate effectively. This is the ultimate act of kindness. You will feel good and so will those you are communicating with. It improves overall wellbeing.

Please remember the next time you are communicating with others:

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” (David Augsburger, 1982)

As always SMILE and LAUGH – they cost you nothing.

Virtual hugs to all

Patricia x

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