“Are you listening?” Does this sound familiar? So are we really listening to our loved ones? We probably think we are. Most of us don’t on purpose not listen. We just don’t always listen in a way that our loved one feels really heard.
When I work with couples in my practice I find this is a common communication issue that brings distress to the relationship. So what are some things we can do to make sure we are REALLY listening to our loved ones?
Five Ways to Let Your Loved One Know YOU are Really Listening
- Stop what you are doing. This may mean putting your phone or computer down to rest. Or turning off the TV or whatever you may be doing. And making eye contact with your partner or spouse. You are setting the FOUNDATION for a meaningful interaction.
- Listen with the intent of hearing and reflecting what your loved one is saying so they can feel you have REALLY and truly heard them. This may not be as easy as it sounds. But it will pay big dividends in your relationship. When someone reflects what we are saying we know we have really been heard. It feels so divine to be heard at this level.
- Avoid giving your feedback and opinion. That is the hard part I think. Because we all have something we feel needs to be said. But if we can hold off and just listen and “be there” it will create a feeling of “YOU really matter to me and I want to know what YOU are feeling and thinking.”. By all means do share your feelings and thoughts if you are asked. But remember it is really more about “being there” to listen.
- After you have really listened, you can respond in a way that shows you have heard your partner’s feelings not just their words. This may mean listening at a level to be able to detect the underlying feeling beneath what is being said. You might even want to name what you think you are hearing. “So you are really angry about . . . ” or “After all the hard work on the meal, you feel unappreciated.”
- Ask what your loved one needs from you? This may be something you can do or maybe not. But the fact that you have asked shows you care and want to do what you can.
Being listened to is a true gift. In our crazy busy lives we don’t always connect in a way in which we are really listening. But when we do it is so very magical. It makes us feel loved and cared for and that is what most of us really want in our relationships.
So hope you will take time to give this special gift to your loved one today!