Connect

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COMMENT

Something I have learned and believe in very strongly through my career is making connections with people. By ‘making connections’ I don’t mean the goal to be more well-known yourself, I mean ‘making connections’ by way of talking and communicating at a deeper level and by also creating more meaningful friendships. You’ll find by actively listening you are able to learn more about each person you meet and will start to appreciate each person individually, seeing their values, goals and their fears. It has also been scientifically proven that people who have more meaningful relationships are usually happier in themselves.

The main focus of this blog is to help with self-confidence and self-worth. Before I started my nursing degree I was really shy and I really didn’t have much sense of self-worth at all. I struggled quietly with depression and anxiety issues (to the point of being physically ill) and a lot of my time was spent with negative self-talk. I feel that nursing taught me some really important tips and thanks to these education sessions I was able to treat myself. One of the subjects of these education lessons was mindfulness and reflection – both very important to medical practitioners of any kind. I will write about more of the things that I learned through my nursing education that helped me at a later date – keep an eye out :)

There are two different types of mindfulness, I will be discussing more outward focused mindfulness (listening and being in the moment with the people you communicate with) in this post, as a pose to a more internal mindfulness process (reflecting on yourself and changing thought patterns to reduce stress). Both methods of mindfulness take a whole lot of practice, but both are equally as beneficial as each other to help increase self-confidence and a sense of self-worth.

Practicing mindful listening teaches you to block out any potential barriers to effective communication in order to really connect with who you are conversing with (some barriers for example – own thoughts, distractions, noise, personal judgements, taboo, emotional triggers, lack of interest, jargon, differences in viewpoints). Once you learn to block these distractions you are able to listen not only to the words the other person is speaking, but you also pick up on subtle non-verbal cues and messages. When you listen mindfully you are able to be completely attentive to the other persons’ needs in the moment, you reassure their fears, support their dreams and you are able to encourage their views and theories. When someone feels as though you are listening with intent they are more likely to trust you, listening (genuinely) encourages rapport. So don’t be a dick, keep these conversations and connections to yourself – don’t breech confidentiality.

I have learned so much through using mindful listening throughout my career and in my personal life. It opens up so many more meaningful relationships and I feel as though I really have been happier in myself since I started using mindful listening in my day-to-day conversations. One way this has helped with my view of self-worth is when you truly forget yourself and leave the distractions in the background, you are completely involved in the conversation with the person in front of you. You forget about your own issues, forget about all of the emotional baggage you carry every day, forget about your cellphone or facebook. It is all about the person in front of you. Once these conversations are done however, there is always a realisation that the issues you face everyday are not unique. Everyone battles their way through life, you’re not alone. In a crummy way… This should give you hope and strength.

If you would like more information about mindful listening or more ways to improve your view of yourself and others don’t hesitate to contact me on my facebook page. I challenge you to start practicing mindful listening over the next week or two. Forget yourself, forget your distractions, forget any prejudice or judgements you hold and just listen. Let me know how you get on :)

Have a brill weekend and for the NZer’s who follow this blog – have a great Waitangi Day! xxx

-J