A recent meeting of Purple's family group used the following reading to open a discussion on effective communication, not only in relationship to the client or loved one, but in all life situations.Communication can sometimes be awkward and tense, especially in early recovery. Becoming a good listener is important to developing more open and honest communication. 

 “A common pitfall in listening is the temptation to start mentally preparing our own response; to be sure our “words of wisdom” will be properly heard and understood. When we do that, we are really only half listening, getting ready to convey an opinion. This is closely related to domineering or controlling. The person with whom we’re talking can’t fail to notice our less than total receptivity. That’s when communication begins to break down.

Webster’s definition of listen is “1. To pay attention to, to give ear, hear, tune in: 2. to hear with thoughtful attention, head: 3. to be alert to catch an unexpected sound”

If we want others to listen when we speak, we must learn to listen when they speak. This is important in a one-to-one conversation. We learn much more when we truly listen. It is then that many answers are revealed.Real communication is a two-way system. Failing to listen can be overcome through hard work; the payoff is definitely worthwhile.”

In summary, to become an effective communicator, you need to listen just as much as you need to learn to speak. Whether in a one-to-one conversation or a group meeting, focusing on what others are saying allows you to present yourself more effectively. Let go of paying attention to what you expect to hear and listen to what your loved one tells you. Listening more and talking less are the foundations of healthy communication.

“God gave me two ears and only one mouth” is a very old saying that helps to remind us to be better listeners.