24 Aug The Art of L.O.V.E –
* Listen * Observe * Validate * Encourage
Let me ask you a question: when you are in a moment of conflict with your spouse or partner, do you listen intently, or do you listen simply to provide your defense?
If you are being honest, like so many of us, you would probably say you are preparing to fire back with every detail that your mind can muster to convey your side of the story and let them know how WRONG they are.
Here’s my follow up question—ready? If your brain was busy crafting your retort, how is it possible that you were you TRULY listening? Listening is an intentional action. It’s an art. It’s not possible to listen if your brain is focused on drafting your next comeback.
Here is a piece of raw truth—you can’t remedy a conflict in the midst of a heated conversation or debate. You must disarm the inflamed emotions first. When our state of mind is in a negative space, it is impossible to solve a problem. The goal would be to diffuse the situation and only then can you move towards a worthwhile resolution.
- What if you understood that you CAN diffuse conflict—almost instantly?
- What if you could change the outcome of virtually any moment of friction?
Let me explain.
I want to share an acronym that can transform every relationship you have.
How can we truly L.O.V.E. someone?
Let’s look at the letter L — LISTEN.
Listening requires you to pay attention to what the person before you is saying. You are meant to forget what you are feeling and step into their shoes for a moment. You must begin to feel what they are feeling. What is this person trying to convey? The more you are able to forget for a moment what YOU are feeling, and instead listen to their words, their tone, and their emotions—only then will you begin to hear their message. This takes intentionality. Generally speaking, we tend to become defensive and want to clear our name of the mess in front of us. But when we listen with both ears—with our mouths closed, without interrupting—we may hear something critically important. Equally imperative is being aware of what’s going on in the background—is there a baby crying? A car alarm going off? Is there something extraneous happening that could be exasperating the situation? This leads us to our next letter…
Let us look at the letter O – OBSERVE. Observe your partner’s emotions. What are they feeling? Note the tone of their voice. Observe their breath. What are their eyes saying? How are they holding their body? These factors can supply vital information. The goal of your observation is to try and determine what is it they are FEELING. This will lead us to our next letter…
Look at the letter V – VALIDATING. Validation seems to be the hardest part of this “L.O.V.E.” concept. The moment your partner expresses themselves in any sort of unsettling manner, the first words out of your mouth should be words of validation. You must validate what they are FEELING, not necessarily the situation at hand. Simply validate their emotions. Most people don’t want to give validation as it makes it look and feel as though your partner is right and that you are wrong. This could not be further from the truth. What this does is give your partner allowance and freedom to express themselves. It does not make them right or wrong. It just allows them the liberty to express themselves without condemnation. The greatest thing you can do is say something along the lines of, “I can see you feel frustrated. That is not what I want for you. I love you and I will work through this until we find our answers.” The closer you get to the word that nearest reflects their current state of emotion, the quicker you will notice the tension subside. Perhaps they feel discouraged, dishonored, disrespected, angry, hopeless…choose the word that best fits. Bonus tip: NEVER say the words “I understand.” Why you ask? Because you DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Erase this phrase from your vocabulary. It is nothing short of disrespectful. This brings us to our last letter…
Let us look at the letter E – ENCOURAGE. After you validate your partner, you must follow up with encouragement. Remember—you love this person and you want a great outcome. No one wins when we continue to argue. If you love someone, isn’t it best to communicate from a place of BEST SELF? Wouldn’t you want to communicate in the MOST effective way? Once you validate, follow up with words of encouragement, sounding something like this: “I can see you feel disrespected. I can’t imagine how that must feel for you, but I do know that I want to do everything we can to talk this through until we both understand what happened.” At this point, the angst should subside. If your partner keeps ranting, then go back to the top and listen, observe, validate, and encourage again until the tension dissipates.
Implementing this concept of “L.O.V.E.” will radically change your relationships, romantic and otherwise. This kind of communication displays respect and honor during a conflict. Once the friction subsides, you can communicate from a place of love. This can be difficult at times and requires practice, but if you are committed to being your best—don’t give up. Because the outcome will be outstanding.