Listening In Relationships
The very fact that we have two ears and one mouth may say something about the importance of listening.The Chinese pictogram of the verb ‘to listen’ is translates as given your ears,your eyes,your undivided attention and your heart’.
How often have you felt that you weren’t being listened to? or maybe you’re the one who has been accused of not listening.Without realizing it,we often absent ourselves when in conversation with others and don’t give our full attention to what the other person is saying.There are many reasons for distracting ourselves or switching off from what our partner is saying.We could be preoccupied with our own thought and thinking about what we want to say,we may be resistant to what we are hearing and react by interrupting or feeling angry or upset,we may shut down as a way of protecting ourselves from feeling any pain,or simply not be interested.
Whatever the reason, not listening can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to a relationship.If we’re not feeling listened to,we don’t feel valued and acknowledged,this can make us feel upset and angry and lead to a sense of disconnection and alienation from the very person we want to feel close to.
Active listening is a very powerful way of communicating.When you engage in active listening, you can dramatically improve the quality of communication between you and your partner.In active listening you: Give your complete focus to what the other person is saying,listening to what the other person has to say with an open mind,let the other person finish before you start talking,maintain eye contact,demonstrate open and relaxed body language,reflect back what you have heard so that there are no misunderstandings,keep your emotions under control.do not interrupt or jump to conclusions and finally look for the feelings or intent behind the words.
When you listen actively to your partner they in turn will have more attention available for you.This will open up the possibility of a real and respectful exchange in which you give each other permission to express your feelings,thought,needs and position.
Listening actively doesn’t mean that you always agree with each other.It simply means that you understand or ask for clarification if you don’t and acknowledge what your partner is saying.Active listening also helps to create empathy and come to an agreement..You are much more likely to be receptive to what the other person is saying if you feel you have been heard and acknowledged..Active listening can also defuse a potentially explosive situation and enable you to find a constructive solution.
It is unrealistic to think that we will always have a straightforward,engaging conversation in which we agree with each other all the time.IF,however, you express what you want or feel while respecting the needs and different perspectives of the other person you will create the basis for a strong and supportive relationship