Not Feeling Heard? Is She Repeating Things?
Listening from the Heart
How we listen to the words of another significantly impacts the quality of the communication. When we listen and truly hear what another has said, we can respond from a deeper and more conscious space. The resulting exchange – whether it be an exchange of information, feelings or even love – will have much more impact for both people.
Do you know that most of us will keep talking, keep trying to restate our position, or keep trying to get our point across until we feel heard. We might do this continually during a single conversation or we might keep bringing up the same point or issue over a series of conversations – sometimes over years, when we really don’t feel heard. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you simply did not feel heard? How did that feel emotionally for you? Has your partner repeatedly told you about the same hurt? He or she hasn’t yet felt heard. Period.
Why is it that we don’t feel heard? Often it happens because we sense that the other person knew their exact response before they even heard the words we spoke. Or, it can happen when we speak and there is no acknowledgment of what we’ve said or how we feel. Sometimes the other person responds in a way that we feel wrong or judged for what we’ve said. Again we feel as if we haven’t been heard.
Have you ever noticed that while someone is speaking to you, you are busy sorting through thoughts in your head about how you are going to respond and then you realize you never really heard what the other person was saying? Or have you caught yourself half listening to your spouse or to someone on the phone while you check email, brush the kids hair, or cook dinner (or all three at once for some of us!)? Imagine if you were the speaker in those situations, how would that really feel? Would a part of you feel, “why bother even speaking?”
That’s what happens to many of us in relationships – whether with our significant other, our co-workers or our families. We feel like we aren’t heard, so we just stop sharing. It’s a natural response. If we are expending energy and not getting anything we desire in return, we simply stop expending that energy. Unfortunately, this creates more separation and tension between us as challenges and issues often remain unresolved… creating more distance and more tension… the opposite of what most of us want.
So how do you consciously listen from your heart? First, you start by trusting that you will have something good to say when it’s your turn to speak, even if you don’t plan it out or think it through first. Honestly, our most authentic responses come not from our thinking mind, but spontaneously from our hearts. Second, you want to rivet your attention on the person speaking. When you rivet your attention on that person you will not only hear their words, you will see their expressions and feel their emotions. You will hear them on every level and they will feel deeply satisfied in their expression. Now, you may not always like what they are saying and this is where you get to open wide and step into your potential and continue listening even when it’s not what you want to hear.
Finally, when the other person is finishing speaking and before you respond with your thoughts and feelings, if you repeat back to them sincerely in your own words what you heard, they will feel ultimately heard. If you don’t get it all right, they can clarify. As you listen, they not only feel heard, it will inspire them to fully relax and consciously listen to the words you speak.
This kind of conscious listening from the heart will help you resolve challenges much more quickly. It will allow you to feel a deeper and more authentic connection and you’ll both probably feel much more satisfied and happier with your relationship!
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.