Feeling heard is a basic human need that far too many people go without. It can make or break relationships, save lives, and even prevent wars.
When someone is talking to you and you are distracted or not wanting to listen, they can tell. And, it hurts.
People who talk a lot, repeat themselves often, or get loud are usually not feeling heard or grew up feeling they didn’t have a voice. In challenging conversations, they will usually calm down once they know you have heard what they are trying to say and then move on to productive conversation.
Those who have suffered loss or are feeling upset don’t need sympathy or to hear your story; they need an opportunity to express themselves without interruption.
Listening is a cornerstone of communication and it is becoming a lost art. It is not about having an agenda or opinion, but about being focused, loving and safe for the other person in that moment.
Heart Centered Listening happens when you:
- Set an intention to listen deeply and give the other person the gift of feeling heard
- Are willing to see the other person as both a soul and a human being without judging them
- Realize that poor communication behaviors like yelling or venting come from pain and often will improve once they feel heard
- Resist the urge to interrupt and let their words flow
- Let go of wanting to provide solutions, opinions, or forwarding your agenda
- Stay curious and leave room for miracles
- Listen lightly without becoming immersed in the other person’s issues
- Let your heart guide you
But, what if what they have to say is negative or hurtful? What if they have a pattern of venting their issues or opinions at you all the time? What if you have a history with the other person that triggers pain and fear as they speak?
Taking care of yourself is always the first priority. If you do not feel safe or ready for the conversation, you are likely not the one meant to do the listening. At least, at this time.
You can listen in negative conversations without it impacting how you feel:
- Nurture your spiritual strength by staying connected to God and other things that feed your soul
- Set an intention to be calm, confident, and not effected by what is said
- Listen in a disassociated state by imagining you are a fly on the wall watching the conversation or just seeing it happen on a movie screen
- Imagine a protective bubble around you before going into the conversation
- Limit the time by letting the person know in advance that you have about 15 minutes or half an hour, instead of letting it go on endlessly
- If the conversation is negative, afterward physically brush off your arms and body or take a shower, imagining the negative energy sliding away
- Remember to breathe
Ultimately, you need to follow your heart. And, when you are able, giving the gift of Heart Centered Listening will be just as much for you as it is for the other person. In many cases these conversations end in huge shifts or breakthroughs. Even if they don’t, you will know that you have done a loving thing. And that, always feels good.
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