We all enjoy talking to others and having others listen to us, but how good are we at listening? Many people complain about not being heard when talking, such that the person listening may judge or interject with their own story or thoughts.
Here are some tips on how to listen effectively and show your loved ones that you hear them and care about them.
Show that you care
We all think of ourselves as caring; caring about our friends, family, and partners. But how do you show you care when talking to someone? Showing that you care requires you to see others’ experiences from their perspectives. It means looking past ourselves and seeing others for who they are, what they believe, and what they experience. By reflecting and summarizing what someone has said to you helps show you are actively listening.
Extend you attention and interest
Instead of focusing on trying to be interesting, focus on being interested in the other person. While you want to be heard, listening by extending your interest in the other person can promote a satisfying and mutual conversation. This includes listening in a genuine and neutral manner and avoiding frequent interruptions. This can increase feelings of understanding and safety in the other person.
Stay connected to your body
Resting comfortably in your own body can help you listen more deeply. Try being in-tune with your breathing as a way of staying connected to yourself. By doing this, you can convey that you are listening whole-heartedly.
Watch out for your own reactions
We easily react and interrupt when others are expressing their emotions, especially if it is something that is related to us or triggers us emotionally. Other people can often tell when we’re uncomfortable with what they’re sharing, and they may also get uncomfortable and not want to continue the conversation. By becoming mindful of our reactions, we can get a better sense of when we are getting reactive and pause, take a breath, and notice what’s happening in our mind and body. This may also help us to modify our reactions. For example, if a loved one says something that makes you angry, you can stop, breathe and think about a response instead of becoming defensive and reacting angrily. This way of listening can help the person you’re talking to feel heard, understood, and respected.
Original article written by Dr. John Amodeo