Saturday, 8 June 2013

Could this be the missing magic ingredient in your relationship?

Tapping into this unfulfilled need could catapult your relationships to a juicier level.

By Nila Sweeney



He says: “People should get their news or information from diverse sources to broaden their views”.  What I heard him say was: “Your blog posts are boring, they’re just focusing on one thing.”

Isn't it silly how we listen to others and hear things based on what's going on in our heads and not what’s being said? Rather than really listening, we get too caught up looking for the meaning and intention behind what the other person is saying.

Why did he say such things? What did he really meant by that? Rather than listening to what’s being said, we make up our own interpretation based on our reality.

In my case,  I made it mean “I’m not good enough to write, I’m stupid,” and so on and so forth because that comment triggered my insecurity.

When there’s a breakdown in communication, it’s less about what's being said, but more on how we listened. That’s the root of miscommunication.

When we listen while running our own internal commentary, we can't listen fully. Even if we're nodding and looking at them in the eyes if we’re too busy judging, agreeing or disagreeing, we’re not really there for them. We're not present.

Being heard is a basic human need, yet those who give them are as scarce as a hen’s teeth. It’s a rare commodity because it’s not easy to listen fully.  It’s difficult to listen when someone is attacking you. You’d  be tempted to interrupt with a counterattack of your own to get even.

The predictable result is that nobody wins. Not even the person with the louder voice or the one who can unleash the most profanities. Everybody loses.

Learning how to listen fully opens up a whole new dimension in your relationships. When you give someone the gift of listening, you’re allowing them to heal. People will start to gravitate towards you. 

When you listen with open heart and mind, people feel they matter. They’d feel closer and safe around you because they can trust you. They no longer feel the need to hide or pretend. You get genuine connection because of your willingness to lend your ears. Your relationships become more meaningful.

The best part of it? You don’t need to do or say anything special: just be present.

How do you really listen?
Here are a few suggestions that I've used myself and they've been immensely helpful. I still have my bad days when communication dies a sudden death. But I’m getting better at it, the more I practice.


Listen without judgement
Now, this is a hard one to do. We’re all wired up to be judgmental.  I know I am. But you can set this judgement aside until the other person has finished whatever it is they want to say.

Try to just listen without having to agree or disagree or judge what the other person is saying. Even when they say something that is blatantly untrue, don’t interrupt. Don’t try to correct them. Doing so would rob them the opportunity to release and heal their suffering.

When you let go of your judgement, your stance towards others softens and your need to defend yourself also lessens.

Set aside your feelings
When listening to others who are expressing negative emotions such as anger, we tend to respond in kind. This is normal. It’s also completely ineffective.

When your emotions are triggered as the other person unloads, keep reminding yourself that this conversation is not about you, it’s about the other person. Give him this moment. You’ll get your turn, some other time.

Set aside your feelings about the matter being discussed and just listen to what the other person is saying. You might just discover something new about the other person and yourself, in the process.

Give something up
Ego often gets in the way of our ability to listen fully and with love. When we give up being right, we allow the other person to express themselves freely.

Let go of your need to be right for once and just listen. You might just be surprised at the outcome.

Be generous
Giving the other person the chance and the space to say what he wants to say is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone. It doesn't cost you anything yet the rewards are huge. When you listen without any hidden agenda and without expecting anything in return, you become the most wanted person in other people's lives. It's the law of supply and demand. You give them something that's in short supply, you become in huge demand.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for a juicy and delicious relationship, mastering the art of listening could just pave the way.