A few years ago I heard a teacher say, "Love makes us smarter." It struck me as odd at first, but I have found myself pondering that saying ever since, and finding truth in it.
Perhaps I'm thinking about love more at the moment, because Thanksgiving day is our anniversary. It was 10 years ago that Tony and I first started dating. Yes, it all started with that kiss under the tree. It feels our love keeps growing stronger with each passing year.
I sometimes hear people talk about their relationships and remark how "no relationship is perfect." I get the sense they are frustrated and feel their relationship somehow falls short. It is true, no relationship is perfect. However, I cannot help but think how communication plays such a crucial role. The use of active listening techniques, like those found in Listen First, can make a huge difference in experiencing less frustration and conflict, and more understanding and joy with the people in our lives. Listen First is a set of 4 practical and heartfelt communication techniques that I share in A Butterfly Life for enjoying more lasting, loving relationships. For those interested in learning more, I will also be offering the Listen First class at SRJC this spring semester on April 18th.
But love doesn't just apply to our significant other. We can communicate in more compassionate ways with everyone, whether it's family, coworkers, friends, clients or strangers. When we make a choice to listen and seek to understand and empathize, we are opening ourselves up to hearing alternate perspectives and seeing the situation in a new light. It becomes less about who's "right" or who's "wrong," and it simply becomes two perspectives. As we allow ourselves to be open and learn, we grow. More possibilities are revealed. We grow smarter. This openness can lead to new ideas and innovative solutions. Plus, it feels good to keep an open heart.
This holiday I am grateful for many things, and especially my husband, whom I simply refer to as "my love." He is such a special person (those of you who know him know), and I look forward to celebrating many more happy years with him!
Tony and I will be following our annual tradition of enjoying a walk in the park Thanksgiving morning. Perhaps we'll even stop under the tree.
We wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings!
Kristi & Tony