7 Signs That You’ve Found (or Are) a Good Listener

When is the last time you felt listened to? Truly heard – confident that the other person wanted to understand what you were trying to communicate?

Good communication takes time and skill: not just on the part of the talker, to express themselves clearly. It also depends upon the hearer, who can listen well or poorly.

Sometimes, we communicate to convey information, while other times we communicate to build up a relationship, to reveal an aspect of ourselves to another person.

Good listening, unlike speech, isn’t a skill that is really taught in schools or even in the home. Parents want children to listen, but that often just means “obey.” In adult life, listening isn’t often related to obedience, though. Adult relationships (and relationships with our children) require us to be truly present to another person: a difficult thing in our culture of constant technological distraction and perpetual multi-tasking.

So how do you know if someone has the skill set of listening? How do you know if you’re a good listener? Here are 7 signs to look for.

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Acknowledge What You Are

(Learn to Discern,  Principle #12)

“God has a plan for your life!”

How many times have you heard this proclaimed? At church, on retreat, by some street evangelist – it’s a phrase we get used to hearing. But it’s a phrase that’s easily misunderstood.

Sometimes, we think that God having a plan for our lives means that we don’t need to make one. (“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!” is another Christian classic.)

Sometimes, we think that if we make plans for our lives, God will automatically have something else in mind – as though He wills the opposite of what we want, simply to be contrarian.

But the truth is that God is not a contrarian. God is a God of love. A God who offers us a multiplicity of goods in the created world. There are simply so many good things for us to choose from when it comes to living our lives. We don’t have to be afraid of choosing something good, and we don’t have to be afraid of choosing something that might not be the very best thing in all the universes of possibilities.

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7 Simple Ways to Have More Peace

In our world of constant political tweets and nagging notifications, peace can feel elusive. The low-grade static of social comparison and personal dissatisfaction hums irritatingly throughout our days. It can scratch at our souls, leaving us uncomfortable without knowing exactly why.

It’s difficult to stop hurrying and embrace silence and its many benefits – one of which is greater peace: not just in our schedules, but in our souls.

Here are seven practical tips to help you have more peace.

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Get Out of Your Own Head With Some Self-Reflection

Socrates is famous for saying that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” But how many of us take time to really examine our lives? We might pause for a moment before making new year’s resolutions, but in the day-to-day, most of us end up hurrying from one place to another without making a lot of room for silence.

You may think: even if I did have time for silence, I wouldn’t want to spend it constantly thinking about myself. Self-reflection may seem like an unhealthy egoistic obsession, a kind of navel-gazing that makes us worse people, not better.

The thing is, that’s not true self-reflection: that’s rumination.

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If You Want A Better Life, Start By Taking A Nap

Do you know anyone who isn’t tired? I can’t think of one person I know who is really happy with the amount of sleep they get. And yet, most of us find it really difficult to prioritize sleep.

The benefits of sleep are too important to ignore: it’s an opportunity for our brains and bodies to rest, heal, and actually regenerate. Sleep deprivation comes at the cost of memory and other neurological impairment, difficulty with emotional regulation, and physical decline. Without enough sleep, we have trouble making good decisions and even completing basic tasks.

Yet how many of us secretly relegate sleep to the “waste of time” category? We have so much to do, we can’t be bothered to just stop and sleep.

We’ve read all about sleep hygiene: turn off screens at least an hour before bed; don’t use your bed for other activities; establish a going-to-bed routine that you follow every night. Maybe we even try to do some of those things. But most of us don’t get enough sleep and end up relying on some combination of caffeine and willpower to get us through the day.

Enter: the nap.

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