Living In Gratitude: Listening to Understand VS Listening to Reply

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey

Listening is an important part of communication but is also one of life’s most difficult skills.

When someone is speaking to us, there is a delay between what we hear and what we understand. During this time, we begin listening to our own internal conversation and as a result, our ability to comprehend what the speaker is saying declines.

This lag time can be a result of our physical or emotional state but odds are, it is due to our own thoughts and opinions that we seek out of every conversation to support our own personal beliefs. Called confirmation bias, this tendency causes us to only listen for what we want to hear.

Often, people also employ competitive listening in which they hear something they believe to be false. This causes a negative reaction, listening ceases and communication breaks down. Read more

Living In Gratitude: 5 Questions To Ask During Dinner

The strength and depth of our relationships contributes to our happiness and wellbeing.  But keeping those closest to us connected can be a challenge with our busy lifestyles. This simple, 5 question series created by world-renown relationship expert, Anil Gupta, is a great way to open up a dialogue with your family around the dinner table. The questions create an environment of acknowledgment, gratitude and discussion while keeping love and respect at the forefront.

How It Works

  • Jot down each question on a slip of paper and place in a bowl.
  • To start, have one member of the family choose a question and answer it.
  • Then, each remaining member of the family answers the same question.
  • It is important to take turns leading the meeting so every person gets to feel important, respected, loved and heard.
  • It is empowering for children to be allowed to ‘run’ a family discussion so be sure to include even the youngest.

Focus On The People

Dive right in with all five questions or ask one each time your family gathers to enjoy an evening meal.

1. What is it you’ve done today that you’d like to be acknowledged for?

Wonderful for both children and adults, this self-esteem boosting question helps us feel appreciated and recognize one another.

2. What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude increases self-worth and improves our overall physical, emotional and mental well-being. And, by expressing gratitude, we discover more things for which to be grateful.

3. What act of kindness did you see or perform today?

This question teaches children to extend kindness to others and to see kindness as a natural way of living. It also reminds adults and teaches children to be aware of all the beauty in the world.

4. What was great about today? What magical thing did you see today?

Asking this question promotes interest and involvement in each others’ lives. It also boosts happiness by focusing on uplifting things.

5. What unresolved issues do we need to talk about?

Reinforcing open communication, transparency and candor among family members, this question also prevents the build up of resentment by addressing issues on a regular basis, creating a place of love and understanding.

These 5 ‘little’ questions hold tremendous power. Asking the right questions while being fully present and aware will make an enormous impact on your family’s relationship. It will create a safe place for discussion, focus on core values of kindness and appreciation as well as nurture respect, awareness and mutual understanding.

May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.