The way in which you listen and respond to others shows an early fundamental choice that you once made and have continued to act upon. The choice is reflected in whether people to leave encounters with you feeling enriched, as if they have gained more substance and value, or diminished by the encounter, robbed of their substance or worth.
Enriching people does not mean that you flattered them or gave them something in order to win their admiration or for some other essentially selfish motive. It means that you invited the other person to show up in ways that allowed them to shine, feel embraced, heard, felt, understood, appreciated, admired and to discover new richness and resourcefulness within themselves.
There is also nothing more validating and affirming of another than to be invited in to share your inner thoughts, inspirations and creative musings and wisdom. People show up in relationships when they feel invited by a respectful, caring and interested host. They recoil or withdraw from people who by their communication styles show the opposite of hosting which is controlling, dominating or exploiting. Many accusations and retorts have become so much part of everyday communication that most people are habituated to them and thus desensitised to the effects that they have on others and on relationships.
There are practices that suggests that the other is not qualifies and therefore does not have a right to express needs, feelings or opinions. These disqualifying practices take the form of not referring to all calling people by their titles but by just one of their names. Saying to someone” you are like your crazy mother”, or making a fascist salute in response to the other persons assertive request or admonition, calling them hypersensitive or accusing them of playing a race or gender card. Then there are legitimising practise that suggest that what the other person is saying is not valid or legitimate and can therefore be treated with contempt or dismissed. These de-legitimising practices one hears very often in relationships. Stop whining or nagging is a favourite amongst men who dismiss their partners voices by equating their expression of sentiment or requests to get needs recognised and met to demanding manipulative children. Saying to someone “what do you know” or “who asked for your opinion” is tantamount to saying that you are not entitled to a voice.
These dehumanising practices rob people of worth at this most fundamental level, rendering them powerless and invisible. What each of us most want in life is to feel a sense of personal significance and that your presence and participation in the world makes a difference for good. The first step to this goal is to re-humanise your speech.