If you use these 5 phrases, you aren’t as empathetic as you think

Are you accidentally a dismissive listener?

Dismissive listening is the opposite of empathetic listening. It says “I want to fix you” or “I want to fix your problem” instead of “I hear you, what do you need?” While empathetic listeners are able to determine what a conversation partner wants or needs, dismissive listeners tend to be less charismatic in conversation and can be seriously holding back their relationships by leaning on inefficient (and generally less empathetic!) listening skills. As a result, they tend to be less effective leaders, mentors, parents and friends.

The good news: Dismissive listening isn’t a personality, it’s a practice. It can be corrected. The first step is diagnosing the situation. If you use any of these phrases, you may be engaging in dismissive listening. Keep reading to determine how you’re leading conversations down the wrong road — and what to say instead.

It’s worth noting that these critiques don’t apply to conversations that open with someone asking for advice or feedback. Instead, they apply to more subtle, open-ended conversations where empathetic listening is required.

1. “Aww! Don’t be upset!”

If someone comes to you when they’re upset about something — from missing out on promotion to experiencing a difficult life event — countering by telling them not to experience their feelings is reductive and dismissive. While you’re a kind person and want to see them happy again as soon as possible, asking them to simply not be upset may make them feel guilty for bringing it up or feel like their emotional experience isn’t valid.

What to say instead: I’m listening. That sounds hard.

This phrase reconfirms that you were a safe person to have this conversation with and validates their feelings. It also allows them the space to lead how the conversation progresses.

2. “What if you try this?”

Most of the time, people are approaching you with a conversation — especially a conversation about a problem at work or at home — to vent and have their experience validated. You’re a nice person and you want to help, but leading with unsolicited advice focuses the conversation on fixing the problem from your perspective instead of on how the problem is affecting your conversation partner. That’s dismissive of their experience and can lead them to feel frustrated and not heard.

What to say instead: I want to help. How can I show up for you moving forward?

Saying this allows you to take action and offer help without inserting your own solutions or opinions into space where someone hasn’t asked for them. If they want help, they’ll tell you how you can engage. Or, they’ll tell you they just needed you to listen.

3. “Oh! You should read/listen to this…”

Similar to the above, this well-intentioned phrase offers unsolicited advice — and shallow advice, at that. If someone is approaching you with a difficult experience — from a layoff to getting into a serious fight with a friend — they likely know where they can go to get advice. We all have Google on hand. Unless they ask, don’t offer those options up. It’s a bit deflective and insinuates their experience can be reduced to a problem that can be solved via educational podcast or inspirational memoir.

What to say instead: I want to help. How can I show up for you moving forward?

Instead, focus on their experiences and how they see you fitting into the larger conversation, if at all. Chances are, they just wanted to vent or wanted you to offer a real piece of wisdom. They’ll let you know!

4. “I totally get it. One time…”

While sometimes you really will get what your conversation partner is experiencing, most of the time, you won’t. We all live individual lives, complicated by our personal experiences, identity dimensions and personalities. While this phrase feels empathetic when you’re saying it, it may feel reductive or just plain wrong to the person on the other side. It also centers your experience over theirs. It’s best to proceed with this route only if you’re asked for similar situations or what you learned from them.

What to say instead: It sounds like you’re saying… Is that accurate?

Instead of assuming you understand what they’re experiencing, repeat back to them your impression of the situation. It centers them, reinforces that you’re listening and helps them progress the conversation in the direction they’d like it to go.

5. “You’ll be fine!”

If someone comes to you with a problem or difficult situation, telling them that it will all work out isn’t just invalidating, it’s not very helpful, either. You’re a nice person and you want to be encouraging and optimistic, but these words reduce the complicated experience someone might have and also deflects the conversation instead of allowing them space to talk through those emotions. This kills your credibility as a listener.

For example, telling a direct report that’s anxious for a presentation that they’ll be “totally fine!” is likely to kill their confidence coming to you for encouragement in the future. Similarly, telling a friend who just got laid off that they’ll be “totally fine because they’re so talented!” makes them unlikely to come to you with complicated, hard situations in the future.

What to say instead: It sounds like you’re saying… Is that accurate? How do you think it will impact you moving forward? How can I show up for you?

To avoid being reductive, reconfirm with someone how you think they’re feeling and how the experience is impacting them. Then, ask how you can help. This centers their experience without reducing it, shows interest in how they foresee the experience continuing to impact them and allows you to expertly diagnose what they’re expecting from the conversation.

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Settle For Someone Who Doesn’t Make An Effort

7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Settle For Someone Who Doesn’t Make An Effort

Isn’t it the best feeling to hear “It wasn’t the same without you” or “I missed you so much”?

We all want to feel desired, wanted, and needed. We all want to feel loved and cared for. We all want to be missed. When it comes to significant others, we need to feel desired. That desire drives the passion, intimacy, and love that we feel between each other.

Sometimes we feel the passion but not the desire. We receive the response to our text a day or two later without any acknowledgement that it was late. Sure, people can be busy. Of course, we’re always busy. But how busy do you have to be to not respond with a “So sorry, busy day, will respond later”? It’s the respectful thing to do.

In our society, texting is many times our primary form of communication. We get to know each other by what emojis we send, whether or not we use periods or commas, and of course, our response time. We’re never asking for much, but we do expect a response within a respectable amount of time.

It might be that you’re trying to plan a date with the person from your English class that you’ve been crushing on for the entire year. It might be an old fling that you’re trying to reconnect with. It might be someone you’ve gone on a few dates with and you’re really feeling the potential.

Whether you’re in a potential, new, current, or nonexistent relationship, there’s never a reason to settle for someone who doesn’t make it known they want you. Here are seven reasons why.

1. You deserve better.
First comes first: You deserve better. If your best friend was complaining that the guy she likes was only texting her back every three or four days, what advice would you give her? You deserve better. It doesn’t matter whether this person is the sweetest person ever when you’re together. Making plans is a crucial step to continue getting to know each other. If they’re wishy-washy, it’s not worth it to you.

2. Your time is valuable.
When this person is off “being too busy,” you’re waiting around for their text and either coming up with excuses for them or feeling sorry for yourself. Stop that! Your time is valuable and you could be doing much better things than thinking about the “what ifs.” Stop “what if-ing” and spend your time investing in someone who will also invest time in you.

3. The Golden Rule.
Treat others how you want to be treated. You know that you wouldn’t be this flaky with someone, so why let yourself be treated this way? Indirectly, it’s insulting to you. You don’t need to be insulted or played with.

4. You won’t know what other opportunities are out there.
When you’re distracted by what this person could be doing instead of texting you back, you’re wasting your own time. You could be missing out on bumping into that cute person at the coffee shop who is completely willing to spend the 30-seconds it takes to reply to a text and make plans. Who knows what else you’re missing? You don’t! Not until you start looking.

5. You’ll become dependent on someone who isn’t dependable.
Let’s say you end up waiting 3 days for the reply. Even though you’re frustrated that this person made you wait, you make plans for Saturday and you’re looking forward to it. Saturday is a blast and your optimism is restored that this person is the one for you. They end up taking another 3 days to reply when you try to make plans again. This becomes a cycle of feeling so down when you’re waiting for the reply, but so happy when you finally make plans. You don’t need this madness! There are already so many stressors in life; waiting the whole week to confirm your weekend plans shouldn’t be another one.

6. There are better things to do than wait around.
Cook a new recipe. Bake cookies. Sing. Dance. Go to the beach, for a drive, for a run. There are endless possibilities for you to do that will stimulate your mind, body, and spirit much more than waiting around for a text back.

7. You are strong!
You might be feeling like it actually is worth it to you to wait around or that there actually aren’t better opportunities for you out there. But trust me, there are. Be a little more patient—the best has yet to come.

The bottom line is that if someone wants you in their life, they’ll make an effort to keep you in it. You’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t wait for someone to “come around” and show you they want you. If they do, you’ll know.

Mihran Kalaydjian Introducing Dubstep Piano on the lake

“If the lake sees the ocean, it will want big waves! If the ocean sees the lake, it will want calm days that lasts for years!”

“The sky loves lakes rather than oceans because it finds the opportunity to watch itself in the crystal clear mirrors of the lakes!”

 

Title: Dubstep Piano on the lake

 

 

Lyrics: 

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past

Gratitude makes you happier, healthier, and more popular

What does it mean to “give thanks?”

Well, it depends. It depends on who, where, when, and how.

If you were around in October 1621 at the Plimouth Plantation, you might have been part of the “First Thanksgiving”. Here, the Native Americans and Pilgrims came together to celebrate the first harvest in the New World.

The settlers had struggled the previous winter due to a lack of supplies and food. Many had starved or became ill and died as a result. Yet, a number survived. Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe, had given the colonists food to get through their first winter.

After the snow thawed, the Pilgrims gradually learned to live off the land. Squanto, from the Patuxet tribe, taught them how to grow corn and catch eel. After this successful harvest, they threw a three-day feast that included waterfowl, turkey, venison, corn, and various shellfish.

Although such festivities were held intermittently in the years since, Thanksgiving finally became a federal holiday in 1863, thanks to Abraham Lincoln. Since then, Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday of every November.

Fast Forward to Gratitude Today

While roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are staples for the Thanksgiving holiday today, how often do we really practice gratitude?

We complain about this and that. We get agitated when deciding what to wear if we’re not served right away at a restaurant, and after a store doesn’t stock our favorite brand of coffee. But is it a surprise, given we live in an age of abundance?

When it comes to our everyday needs and wants, we have variety right at our fingertips. We can have any type of food delivered right to our doorstep. Our phones ping notifications on today’s trending news. And if you’re looking for entertainment, just open up your internet browser. While these are all good things, we easily take what we have for granted.

People’s acts of kindness often go unrecognized. In many cases, the recipient fails to say a simple “thanks” or give any acknowledgment. In an everyday quest to get things done, people are consumed by their own lives and forget to take the time to thank others.

It seems as if the original intent behind that first Thanksgiving feast has been lost with time.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Both giving and receiving thanks are important. But in order to understand why we need to see the benefits.

There are three main benefits to being thankful:

1. Strengthening social relationships

Gratitude can help us befriend others, improve existing relationships, make amends, and recognize others’ good deeds. In romantic relationships, practicing gratitude for the little things can make all the difference. In one study, expressing gratitude towards the partner improved the relationship quality for both people.

Letting someone know that you’re grateful for the person’s actions, or simply for being in your life, can improve your relationship. It doesn’t matter whether the person is a stranger, friend, parent, relative, or whoever. Thanking others breeds positive feelings all around.

2. Improving our personal sense of well-being

In a study, one group of participants wrote about the things they were grateful for, a second group reflected on the daily things that irritated them, and a third group wrote about their week with neither a positive nor negative slant. 10 weeks later, the grateful group was more optimistic and happier about their lives, while the group that focused on negativity was more likely to visit the doctor.

Giving thanks is not only rewarding intrinsically, but it also helps us feel better about what we have. We’re more joyful overall. Even if you’re having a bad day or things don’t go the way you want, there are definitely some things that you have to be grateful for.

3. Maintaining good health

According to one study, gratitude is linked to the quality of your sleep. People who reflected on the positive things that happened in their day had a better night’s sleep than those who with a negative outlook.

The quality of your sleep is directly related to how you feel during the day and your overall health. Those who were less grateful were more stressed, anxious, and depressed. The opposite was true for those who were more grateful.

To sum it up, here’s a quote from the Wall Street Journal article “Thank You. No, Thank You” on how gratitude affects our lives:

“Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.”

How to Practice Gratitude

Now that we’ve seen all the benefits of gratitude, we need to incorporate more of it into our lives Practicing gratitude can easily be done using these three ways:

1. Keep a gratitude journal

Jot down a few things you’re thankful for. Place a notebook on your bedside table so that it’s convenient. The best time of the day to write in your journal is right before sleeping. That way, you can reflect on everything that’s happened during the day and you get a happier night’s rest.

To start and end your day on a good note, try The Five Minute Journal.

Remember to be specific. Instead of writing that you’re “thankful for your friend”, think of a specific example, such as “my friend shared her own experiences with work conflict, which helped me navigate a similar situation.” Thinking of particular instances forces you to think hard about the good things that have happened.

2. When in doubt, say “thanks”

We often forget to thank people for the little things, such as lending a pen. Sometimes, we even forget to say “thanks” for the bigger things, such as gifts or loans. If you’re not sure what to say, a simple word of thanks does wonders in making the other person feel valued.

If you met someone interesting at a networking event or completed an academic course, reach out and send an email to the person to thank them for what they taught you. Opening up the lines of communication can lead to opportunities down the road.

3. Use positive phrases

When you’re faced with a dilemma, switch out those negative phrases for positive ones. For instance, I had a power outage that lasted for days. While it was definitely inconvenient, at least I had a chance to interact with people, free of electronics, and catch up on good old-fashioned books.

Whether something is a problem or an opportunity depends on how you look at it. And the way you look at things changes your mindset, attitude, and actions.

A Simple Act of “Thanks” Can Blossom into Something More

The Pilgrims held a feast to celebrate the promise of a bright future. They made it through a difficult winter and recognized how much they had to be thankful for. They saw a place where they and their descendants could thrive.

It’s interesting how such a simple, seemingly insignificant event would go on to become an important annual tradition. If only the Pilgrims who celebrated in those early days recognized the weight of their actions then.

Who knows what significant events can unfold from the small actions you perform today?

18 Swoon-Worthy Overwater Bungalows

Who can resist the allure of an over-water bungalow? Everything about it spells romantic, off-the-grid seclusion, from the thatched roofs and wraparound terraces to outdoor showers and spellbinding views of the azure waters. We traveled to Tahiti, Fiji, Bora Bora and beyond in search of the best over-water bungalows. Here’s what we found.

Four Seasons Bora Bora

To get to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, a private yacht takes you across warm South Pacific waters to your very own over-water bungalow or beachfront villa. Once there, you’ll never have to leave the privacy of your thatched-roof retreat— you can request to have meals delivered by canoe, and decks mean that you’re only ever a stepladder’s distance away from the crystalline lagoon.

Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef, Maldives

This resort represents a younger, more affordable take on textbook tropical luxury, which translates into hip accommodations, a buzzy vibe and top-notch service. The 62 beach and over-water villas come equipped with outdoor rain showers that let you go au naturel in nature. Take a dip in the reef, then climb up your private ladder onto your deck to laze under the sun.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

This adults-only resort is home to Fiji’s only over-water bungalows, making it a big draw for honeymooners. Splurge on a Deluxe Beachfront Bure for direct ladder access to the lagoon, a freestanding bath, lounger-strewn deck and a private plunge pool.

Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

On the tiny island of Olhuveli, the Six Senses Laamu’s 97 villas are secluded and luxurious, with indoor-outdoor spaces and private beach access. Throw in six distinctive on-site restaurants and bars, the glamorous spa and water activities, and it’s obvious why this resort is a beach vacay slam dunk.

Angsana Ihuru, Maldives

Ideal for lovers, divers and environmentalists, the Angsana Ihuru is a stylish haven on a tiny private island in the Maldives’ North Malé Atoll. Highlights include the thoroughly modern, thatch-roofed bungalows; the wildlife sightings (think: parrotfish, turtles and blacktip sharks); and the resort’s underwater coral garden initiative, which gives guests the opportunity to clean and restore the house reef.

  

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

The resort encompasses two adjacent islands, connected by a 500-meter footbridge, and offers both standard beach villas and the coveted over-water variety. The expansive 1,600-square-foot spa accommodations have large Roman baths, vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans, teak floors, and, of course, unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

This 60-acre resort is on a private estate at the end of a peninsula on the unspoiled East Coast of Mauritius. Thanks to the vision of Mauritian architect Jean-Marc Eynaud, the thatch-roof villas are just shy of over-the-top, with heated private pools, romantic outdoor baths and Feng Shui-inspired interiors.

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

You’ll need to endure a long-haul flight and a car and boat transfer to get to this luxury boutique hotel. But once you’ve arrived at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, it’s all about pampered relaxation. The 58 villas are set amid massive rock and boulder formations and overlook the South China Sea; those along the beachfront are extra luxurious, with paths running directly to the sand.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

Each spacious over-water villa at the Inter-Continental Bora Bora has oh-my views of the azure lagoon and the iconic Mount Otemanu. Designed with an environmental sensitivity, the resort uses revolutionary technology that draws seawater from the depths of the ocean to reuse it for electricity.

Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort, Tahiti

With sawtooth mountain ridges, vertiginous fern-cloaked cliffs, deep ravines and dramatic waterfalls, this wild and romantic island retreat is the ultimate far flung escape. Take in the views from the hammock on your bungalow’s deck or from your deep soak tub or rain shower.

The St. Regis Bora Bora

Starting at 1,550 square feet, the over-water accommodations at The St. Regis Bora Bora are the largest in French Polynesia. But it’s not just size that sets these lush bungalows apart. Blending minimalist Polynesian decor (think: plank wood floors, thatch-work ceilings, tribal-inspired art) and 21st century luxuries like glass floor panels, this property is a serious stunner.

Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas All Inclusive, Maldives

The villas at this all-inclusive Maldives hideaway eschew thatch-roofs and sand-colored interiors for a sleek, white-on-white aesthetic. Inside, find four-poster beds, lacquered writing desks, polished herringbone floors and open-air showers.

El Dorado Maroma by Karisma, Mexico

Move over, Maldives. Mexico’s now got its own over-water bungalow resort, and it’s out of this world. The adults-only enclave has 30 plafitos (stilt houses) on a secluded stretch of the Riviera Maya. As with most resorts there’s a glass-bottom floor, infinity plunge pool, outdoor shower, 24-hour butler and a ladder that leads into the sea. But, the design is the opposite of cookie-cutter: dark zapote wood from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexican white granite and roofs made with thatched palm leaves.

  

 

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Lush rain forest, pristine beaches, and colorful reefs are just some of the reasons we love this Cambodian getaway set on two private islands along the Gulf of Thailand. Song Saa’s 27 waterfront villas are done up with natural materials (beach driftwood and recycled timber from old fishing boats) as well as handcrafted furnishings by local artisans. Split your time between the yoga and meditation center, infinity pool, spa, and snorkeling sites.

Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

Nestled on a private 300-acre isle in Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort is a true tropical oasis. Its 43 posh over-water suites feature massive sundecks and over-sized bathtubs that look out over the azure sea. And around the resort, there’s four restaurants, two outdoor swimming pools, and a private beach to continue the bliss

   

Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives

Cocoa Island is the ultimate romantic escape for couples and honeymooners. Here, privacy is paramount: the dhoni boat-inspired suites are spaced 24 feet apart, a personal butler caters to your every need, and the South Indian cuisine can be delivered straight to your bungalow (meaning there’s no reason to leave). There’s also an over-water Como Shambhala spa if you want to watch the fish while you get a massage for two.

Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives

We try not to pick favorites, but it’s pretty damn hard to top the elegant ++Cheval Blanc Randheli++. Owned by the same French firm that represents high-end brands like Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon, luxury is in every detail. Starchitect Jean-Michel Gathy, who designed the stunning Aman properties, dreamt up the 46 villas in a blend of clean contemporary style and traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. The airy open-plan abodes have cathedral ceilings, Vincent Beaurin artwork, plus sliding glass walls that open onto a glam sundeck and 40-foot slate infinity pool. Other posh perks: lagoon-side pontoons, a seaplane chauffeur, Guerlain spa treatments, a hammam, Leonor Greyl hair salon and beauty studio, plus three bars and five restaurants, including Le 1947’s tasting menu fare courtesy of three-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa has all the trappings of an upscale island retreat. The 50 breezy bungalows have high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and minimalist decor (think: white stone, chunky black furniture and native wood). When hunger strikes, there’s the Island Grill, a toes-in-the-sand spot with a wood-burning oven. But most of your days will be spent snorkeling at the 30 dive sites nearby (a resident marine biologist can also give tours) as well as indulging in an indigenous treatment at the Vidhun Spa.

 

Within the Alamo

Within the Alamo

He drew a straight line
Across the dirt floor:
Within, it was death-still–
Without, was a roar
And a scream of the trumpets:
Within, was a Word–
And a line drawn clean
By the sweep of a sword.
No help was coming, now–
That hope was done.
No more the free air,
no more the sun
Bright on the blue leagues
Of buffalo-clover.
Travis drew a line
And they all crossed over.
Travis had a wife at home,
Travis was young;
Travis had a little boy
Whose tight arms clung,
But Travis saw a far light
Shining before:
Travis drew a sword-cut
Across the dirt floor.

And now the old fort stands
Placid and dim,
Blinking and dreaming
Of them and of him;
And now past the Plaza
Other tides roar,
since Travis wrote “Valor”
Across the sand floor,
And the guns they will rust,
And the captains will go,
And an end come at last
To the wars that we know,
But as long as there travails
A Spirit in man,
In a war that was ancient
Before Time began,
Here will the brave come
To read a high Word–
Cut clean in the dust
By the stroke of a sword.