In my past relationships, I always thought that I was a really good listener and communicator. I had no idea that listening could be taken to such a higher level… When I found out that there are different levels of listening, it changed my world forever! Can you say, wake up call?!?
We generally tend to listen ONLY to what we want to hear. We don’t listen to people who have something to say that we don’t want to hear, whether it will help us grow or not. And I bet your partner has said some things that you have no desire to hear… Removing judgment in our conversations will move us closer to being fully open to all these opportunities for growth. You never know what you may learn about yourself when you stop and listen.
Ever had those moments where you were in a conversation with someone and it seemed as if they were talking about a completely different subject than you were? Or, in a conversation where you wanted support and only to be heard but suddenly the person you’re talking to is telling you about their problem instead? Maybe they were trying to empathize and show you they understand because they had a similar situation they dealt with but you were left feeling completely deflated, sad and that suddenly this was about them and not you. What you experienced is a low level of listening. This level of listening makes it hard to have a conversation where both people involved feel heard and validated.
As always, you know that YOU are the person you have control over and who you can change. So how can you start changing your level of listening so that you’re experiencing connection and conversation on a much deeper level?
- The next time that you’re in a conversation, I want you to consciously focus on what the OTHER person is saying. Stay right in each moment with them. If you’re face to face, make eye contact. Be quiet and let them finish what they are going to say. What you’re going to notice is how, in the past, you’ve almost always been anticipating what the other person is going to say and preparing your response. Stop and allow yourself to really HEAR what the other person is saying WITHOUT judgment. Just like you have every right to feel the way that you feel, they have a right to feel the way they feel.
- Acknowledge what the person is saying to you. Reiterate what they’ve said to you in your own words and allow them to confirm or correct what it is you understood from them. After all, they are the ones saying it so of course they know best what they wanted you to understand. Start your acknowledge with a phrase like, “It sounds like you’re saying…” or “I hear you saying that…”. I personally do not say “I understand.” in conversations because in all honesty, I’m not that person and saying you understand shifts focus to you and acknowledging someone’s heartfelt words is not about you. It’s about them.
Taking the time to really listen, hear, and understand what someone is saying to you will instantly create a deeper depth to your relationships and who doesn’t want deeply connected relationships?
I hope you’re having a fabulous week and we’ll talk again soon!
To Your Growth in Life and Love,