“Why don’t you ever listen to me?!” The power of active listening in your home

We know how rushed life is nowadays. We know that you can get so used to the stuff your loved ones say that you can basically predict it before they even say it.

But, what if you slowed down, asked deeper questions, and listened more intently to what they had to say? What do you stand to gain? Would you understand them better? Would that space allow them to understand themselves better?

In our view, you can only gain from giving that extra time to those around you.

Here are 5 tips that can reduce conflict and build connection in your home life:

Slow down Facebook1. Wait for the whole story
Wait and keep waiting. Listen. Let them say whatever it is they need to say. Let him/her tell you that “school was the worst, and he didn’t learn anything’, or “that his partner at work is the pits” or that the “lady at the supermarket was giving her side-eye”. Just listen. And when you think you should talk, just listen. Just let them say everything on their mind.

2. Make eye contact and don’t multi-task
Show that you are listening with your eyes and your body language. Don’t do something else. Meet them on their level and just be there. Don’t clean up the kitchen. Don’t check your phone. Show that you are listening deeply with an open mind.

3. Don’t think about your response
Avoid crafting a response. Try not to even think about what you think or whether you have been through a similar experience, or how this impacts your life. Instead, just listen. Don’t let it be about you. All you are doing is giving space for them. This is not about you.

4. Ask thoughtful questions
Ask some follow up questions about their experience. What is bothering them about what happened? Why is it getting to them? Ask questions that show how deeply you were listening. Show that your sole purpose is in hearing what they are telling you, both from a practical and an emotional side of things. You want to hear about what they are feeling.

5. Check in about what you heard
When you do respond, start with something like: “what I’m hearing from you is…” and check back as to whether you have heard not only what they said, but also what they meant. Resist the urge to respond or advise, just share back what you have heard them say. Give them a chance to clarify where things have been lost in translation or where things have come out the wrong way. Listen and wait.

 

 

 

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