I cannot say it enough. Most of us rarely feel truly heard and understood. Empathy, the simple act of hearing someone and focusing your attention on them, can be incredibly healing.
Try to listen for the feelings and needs behind someone’s words. This isn’t always easy, but the results are remarkable. Here’s an example. One of your kids says, “We never do what I want.” That might be hard to hear if you focus on the words he uses and if you think 90 percent of your life is focused on meeting his needs. Take a deep breath and listen for what they are; I’m guessing respect, and a say in decision making. You don’t have to agree with him, by the way. All you’re doing is trying to understand his view of things. You could respond with, “Are you frustrated and want more say in the family’s decision-making process?”
by Mary Mackenzie