How much does this person know?
How much does this person care?
Which one do you have control over?
Going into a conversation, there is only one reality that a person can be sure of…..your own thoughts, feelings and perceptions. You can’t know what the other person is thinking, so don’t try and complicate things by assuming what they are thinking or are about to say and preparing in your mind what your response will be before even listening.
The only thing that you and your partner each need to bring to the conversation is something that each of you can be sure of: your own thoughts, feelings and perceptions. You will start complicating the conversation or communication if you stop listening and start interrupting with your story.
Going into a conversation, you have very little awareness of what your partner really thinks and feels. But until you have really listened, you know almost nothing. Listening is a skill that needs to be learned, developed and practiced every day. Just because we hear does not mean that we are listening.
Listening is not about you. Listening is entirely about the person you are listening to. The person talking is not looking to you for advice or guidance. What they truly need is to be heard so that they feel that they are being seen and are being validated. Hear your partner out.
When you put yourself aside, that is when you focus on what your partner is saying rather than on your opinion or how you are reacting. You are making yourself available to listen. As your partner talks, try to sense what it feels like to be him or her. Empathize. Listen with your heart.
Indicate that you are hearing them.
It is not enough to listen silently. It is helpful to indicate to your partner that you are hearing them. Repeat back what you hear and what you feel them saying in a way that is not condescending.
Have compassion for your partner.
As you listen to your partner with empathy and feel what they feel, you gain compassion for them as a person. You feel for them as a human being with personal pain and struggles like the rest of us.
Do you struggle with communication in your relationships? If so, contact me or sign up for my complimentary mini-session.