Good and Bad Listening
There is an art to good listening. It involves using all of our body and all of our attention. We need to set aside our own opinions, agendas and internal conversations to really try to understand what our loved one is trying to communicate to us. What is it like to be them right now?
The fruits of good listening are emotional needs met and positive feelings. When you give me space to talk, I feel free. It encourages me to open up to you.
When you listen with your eyes, I feel important to you. You are giving me your attention and saying, "What you have to say right now matters to me more than anything else."
When you ask me questions to make sure youíve heard me and know what I am saying, then I feel connected.
When you show that you know how I feel, then I feel secure. Iím loved and accepted and no longer alone. When you show that you understand, I feel valued and valuable.
Some of the things that block communication are bad listening styles. They communicate a lack of interest, a superior or self centred attitude or a desire to fix my problems, when all I really want is to be heard, accepted and understood.
When you insist on telling your story I feel unheard. It's as if I'm invisible. When you look away, I feel unimportant. Youíre not interested. What I have to say to you obviously doesnít matter Ė you have let other things distract you. Are you bored or do you think you've heard it all before?
When you interrupt me, I feel frustrated. Thereís something on your agenda thatís more important . Perhaps you think you know better. Iím no longer in control of the situation.
When you give me unasked for advice, I feel small. It puts me down and reduces my communication to my problem, but Iím a person as well! Often I donít want the answers, just to be listened to so I can work through things for myself and make my own choices.
When you ignore me, I feel rejected. Sometimes I long to share whatís on my heart with you of all people. If you wonít listen, then who will? Donít I matter to you at all?
Getting our listening right can transform our relationships. Where do you need to improve?
Tip by Liz Percival