To be a good listener is the tricky hard part if you are not empathetic. As she walked into my office, Jennifer was already crying. She slumped in front of me in the chair and said that when she was with her husband she was never more alone:
She explains, “I mean, he’s a good man, but he’s got the emotional mind of a rock. Whenever I’m a bit upset or stressed—or even tired—he turns me around and begins to grill me about what’s wrong.
Why are you again upset?
I just wish you are happy..
What should I do?
Why don’t you get more often to see your therapist…
It was too early to leave the meds I told you.
She tells me, trying to hold back his tears, ‘I know he just wants to aid, but the more he tries to help the worse I feel. I’m anxious and guilty that every time he opens his mouth I’m not happy enough, resented that I can’t communicate how he wants it and lonely to someone who doesn’t know me even, because I’m marryed.”
Stories such as these are extremely devastating as a reasonably straightforward cure still occurs. Both Jennifer and her husband are decent people who deserve to be satisfied and to function together. It’s just that one of them has the crucial potential to be a strong listener in both relationships.
Ironically, we are so well-known for being a decent listener, but most of us are bad at it. We all realise how nice it is for us to live healthily or exercise daily, so we work hard all the same.
Fortunately, it is not that challenging to become a stronger listener when you know where to proceed and are able to learn. Here are five useful suggestions for being a successful listener for all. And if cultivated, the output of the most significant partnerships would significantly increase.
1. Concentrate on the client, not the issue for the listener
Many of them are heart solvers.
It is no wonder because we are both actively searching for challenges and urgently strive to fix them. Pair a deep biological survivor instinct to find concerns and address them with an overarching cultural importance focused on human accomplishment and analytical abilities.
While in certain lives it is good for us to fix issues, in only a few cases it’s exactly the wrong thing to do. Namely that problem solving and suggestion actively interferes as people want clearly to be noticed, understood and feel related.
The last thing that they want to have is to feel like a burden, when they are afraid, irritated, stressed, or angry. However, that is just what you do if you send someone who is suffering unsolicited suggestions – making people feel like a concern.
There is a time for guidance and a position to give. And happily, there’s a dead gift that lets you know precisely when you can start offering guidance.
Keep all the clever words of understanding and concentrate on your presence.
Listening part: 2. Ask questions open-ended
Questions are for receiving answers in most facets of our lives. And the more brief and straightforward the query, the simpler and more helpful the answer. In other words, we all prefer to ask questions and allow the other individual to offer a brief, concise response. We prefer to bring closed queries, in other words.
When it comes to being a decent listener, this is a challenge. Naturally, being a strong listener typically calls for inquiries. However it is crucial how you pose them. Much. Much.
Talks are more than an exchange of knowledge. They’re link. They’re connection.
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For eg, whether a friend of the family or a partner is angry, it is not mainly the purpose to be a good listener to figure out what made them unhappy, or what their plans are. The purpose is generally to help, empathise, inspire and give them the sense that they have their back and not alone.
Open-ended questions remind you of your involvement, and of your consideration for the other party. Closed questions notify you the knowledge is of interest to you.
Rather than: Why are you upset? Try: How do you feel about that?
Rather: Was it stressful to function again? Try: How’s it been?
Rather, did your mother yet again question you? Try: What happened to your mother in the conversation?
There are some generic open-ended questions here that fit great in nearly any situation while in doubt:
How did it happen to you?
Can you say something about me?
How did you feel? How did you feel?
Right now how do you feel?
What was your mind going through?
The individual sitting next to you not details, is a good listener.
Pro Tip: stop continuing with Why and using what or how instead when answering questions. Why does it make us feel challenged and criticised, whereas how and what feel more neutral and truthful.
3. Dear listener, think back after hear
I recall, when I first started practising as a therapist, that reflector listening had to be something I had ever experienced most dumbly. Seven or eight years early, which I think might be the brightest, really strong.
Reflective listening involves repeating what the person across the street has said (usually in your own words). Examples include:
Statement: Tony said this to me, I couldn’t believe it! I was like in my mind, “Who are you the fuck? “Nobody suggests anything in my defence than to make things harder! Playback: It looks like the guard got you.
Declaration: I was so frustrated and depressed and furious. It took me a million stuff and I didn’t know where to proceed or how to go on. Reflection: You appear to be confused really.
Declaration: You still have your own things so concealed that you never even notice what I mean to you. Reflection: Seems like you mean I’m not really good listening. Reflection.
Now when I began to do it, I got upset because it was almost condescending – they know how tragic… why should I repeat it?
Again the short reply is not knowledge, but a sense of understanding and relation. The short response is that.
When we rely on what somebody else tells us it shows us that we listen closely.
Reflective listening, in other words, is what helps us sound. And once people are truly noticed, a positive thing, no matter how terrible the condition is, starts to happen.
4. Confirm the thoughts
As we discussed above, reflecting what another means creates faith and trust that you understand and care about what they mean.
Likewise we would give an even more strong message that we truly appreciate and endorse as we understood and validated how someone thought in an emotional way.
Now it seems technical and difficult to say emotional confirmation, but in fact this is simple: it implies to prove others that your feelings are true.
Some references from above use the same statements:
Statement: Tony said this to me, I couldn’t believe it! I was like in my mind, “Who are you the fuck? “Nobody suggests anything in my defence than to make things harder! Reflection: It seems like in Tony and in your collaborators you were very furious and frustrated.
Declaration: I was so frustrated and depressed and furious. It took me a million stuff and I didn’t know where to proceed or how to go on. Reflection: I can see how you really sound depressed and furious.
Declaration: You still have your own things so concealed that you never even notice what I mean to you. I can see that you are very upset at me when you don’t listen better. Reflection: Yes.
Emotional validation is as similar as it becomes to true Harry Potter-style enchantment. Any miraculous boundary arises as we get angry, and the other one knows the features of our pain. Not in an analytical or problem-solving manner; but in a clear and transparent way.
Most of us are taught from birth to perceive our own “evil” feelings as poor, eliminated or set. This gives you profound fear and remorse.
But by merely identifying someone and recognising that we recognise the feelings of someone, we grant an amazing donation to another the freedom to experience everything they have without any guilt or anxiety.
There is no single relation—grand or small—in your existence which would not significantly change if you are in the habit of validating the feelings of other people.
5. Confirm your own thoughts
Nothing sabotages the willingness to listen more easily than the defensive.
Defense is the fancy counsellor talking about what people do while in a relationship they feel threatened:
Your wife remarks on your latest shoes when you head out… Obviously sarcastic!
You feel insulted, saddened and more and more upset at how cynical and dismissive she really is.
Your wife feels hurt and furious and clams, contributing to an inconvenient and quiet dinner with the Joneses.
You’re beginning to ruminate if this suits your trend and start to envision how much easier life will be if you married this sexy college bartender (yeah right…)
We prefer to strike back, or run away—sometimes physically, but also emotionally, when we feel threatened, much like other animals. And although initially protective is triggered by anxiety, it easily turns into other challenging emotions like rage, rancour, remorse, shame and so on And so on.
The dilemma is that it supports your defensive mechanism and the hot feelings it produces when you are physically threatened (think of a bear getting chased), but it is not helpful when you simply feel attacked.
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