Just try to imagine a large, peaceful garden where the natural colours and scents are abundant. A towering tree with branches reaching for…

Just try to imagine a large, peaceful garden where the natural colours and scents are abundant. A towering tree with branches reaching for the sky dominates the garden’s focal point.

People congregate beneath its branches to meditate on life and the world around them. Each person can feel comfortable venturing into their inner world, free from judgment and interruption, among the tree’s branches.

Like flowers opening to the sun, they gain new insights and views as they think. Likewise, the beauty of providing others with mental breathing room is akin to a garden, where thoughts can flourish and relationships can become more robust.

Like a tree, we can offer shelter and support to people around us, allowing them to develop to their fullest potential.

In today’s fast-paced, multitasking society, it’s easy to lose sight of the value of giving others time and space to form their opinions.

Productivity, efficiency, and speed are highly prized in today’s culture, often at the expense of thoughtful deliberation. However, the beauty of other people’s creativity, intelligence, and original ideas can be revealed only if we make an effort to give them room to think.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking…” — Leo Tolstoy

The benefits of giving others mental breathing room extend beyond the workplace to improve our relationships. Encouraging those we care about to think about and journal about how they feel helps them better understand themselves and the world around them.

In turn, this can help people develop relationships based on mutual appreciation and compassion.

Making mental room for others is crucial to developing strong bonds with those we care about in our personal lives.

We can make such places by doing the following:

1. One of the best ways to give someone room to think is through attentive listening. This requires us to pay attention to the other person without making any assumptions about them or interrupting them. Instead, giving them time and watching shows that we care about what they have to say helps them feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and honestly.

2. When we ask someone open-ended questions, we give them a chance to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings; when we ask questions that begin with “what” or “how,” the other person is encouraged to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings rather than giving a simple yes or no response.

3. We may feel compelled to fill awkward pauses in conversation but remember that silence can be a powerful tool for letting others process what they’ve heard. When we pause and give the other person time to think, they may come up with ideas or angles that they hadn’t thought about before.

4. When we make it possible for people to express their opinions and sentiments without fear of ridicule or reprimand, we have created a “safe space” for them to do so. Gaining their trust requires demonstrating sympathy and acknowledging their feelings.

5. Getting others to think about their thoughts, feelings, and actions can help them learn more about themselves and the people around them. For example, they should keep a notebook, meditate, or do something else reflective that will give them time and space to ponder their feelings.

“The man who can make hard things easy is the educator.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we make it possible for people to talk openly about their thoughts and ideas, we foster an environment that is open to others and respectful of their perspectives.

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