Humans thrive on connections, when we have a sense of belonging we feel understood and supported and, let’s face it we could all do with some more of that! The Caring Mums program builds connections between Caring Mums and volunteers. I speak personally, as a volunteer, when I say that we HEAR you. Being a mum is the MOST incredible, rewarding and complex job you’ll ever have. We truly hear the joy in the little things; the challenges of poor sleep; the feeling of being overwhelmed at times.
Communication is the key to our connections, our relationships. Quality communication is what we should be striving for. For some this skill comes naturally, others have to work hard at it.
Challenging times can impact our use of this important skill, yet it is at precisely these challenging times, that good quality communication is needed most. But what defines quality communication?
Birgit Ohlin explains in detail in her informative and enlightening article entitled Active Listening: The Art of Empathetic Conversation.
It may sound obvious, but paying attention is first and foremost; doing our best to avoid being distracted, to being present in the moment. The speaker should feel that we are interested in what they are saying. More than this, it is a conscious effort to focus on the speaker, to hear not only the words but the complete message that the person is conveying. Interestingly, body language, eye contact and facial expressions all play a part in sending the message that you value the person talking and are interested in what they are saying.
Allow the speaker the space to speak; interrupting can prove frustrating to them. Checking you got the right message can be a useful way of clarifying your understanding. Remember that when we are communicating with someone important to us, what they have to say IS important for us to hear, to gain information and perspective. In return, the speaker feels respected, understood and valued.
When we communicate well we experience the power of being heard; the power of feeling connected. THIS is the power we aim to share and grow as a member of the Caring Mums community. The Caring Mums program specifically trains volunteers in active listening skills. These are skills that apply to our personal life as well. Using them on my teenage daughters however, is a struggle at times, and is likely to require many, many more years of practice. The idea is that, by working on improving our communication skills, those around us will feel heard and our relationships will benefit.
The Caring Mums program challenges us, encourages us. We in turn challenge and encourage you to give it a go; practice on loved ones and friends; face to face, in real life and on Facetime or Zoom. Putting a little extra effort towards our communication, at a time when we are all feeling somewhat isolated or alone, may unlock the power of being heard. We can all take more responsibility in growing the village of support around us and building the greater sense of connection many of us crave.
xx Danielle, Caring Mums Volunteer
Take a look at this short clip where Amy and Sheldon show us the power of being heard ….x