UTILIZING STRENGTHS: A WAY OF BEING

Strengths Perspective dovetails with Covey’s, Habit # 5, “listening for understanding, and then listening to be understood.” The central focus of Strengths philosophy is predicated on listening without judgment; being totally present until the person feels understood. Trust, empathy, and valuing differences are an integral part of this cooperative process; the end result yields creative solutions that couldn’t have been achieved when one in an adversarial listening state. Practicing this concept is challenging! This became apparent as I facilitated a six-hour cooperative learning experience on utilizing the Strengths Perspective: Treatment Behind Bars. As we moved through the learning day, Strengths Perspective receded when my area of passions were challenged. I quickly forgot that we both could be right about the same thing. Much like, “I see the old woman” and “you see the young woman” we are both viewing the exact same picture. Sociocultural conditioning dictates what we see; socio-cultural conditioning is a universal state all humans share; it allows us to make quick decisions. Whereas, listening for understanding, an acquired skill is not expedient yet effective when employed with relationships. It is the highest acknowledgement one can bestow on another human because it conveys “you are important.

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