Asset 2


Do you feel that people don’t really listen to you? That they are more interested in sharing what is going on their life, almost as though they are waiting for you to finish so they and jump in. Maybe they are giving you solutions to your issues when you didn’t ask for them. Maybe you ask for something and the other person agrees to doing it but never does or they don’t do it the way you want it (that forever happened with my kids). Maybe you find that others only listen to you when you have some juicy gossip or a good story. Maybe you find that what you really want to speak about others don’t want to listen do, they may judge you are weird. Or maybe your experience of not being heard is something very different. 

And when the table turns are you truly able to listen? Or do you go into any of the above or something different.

For most of my life I haven’t felt truly heard. Actually that is not true, I haven’t allowed myself to be truly heard. And obviously the other side of the coin is that I haven’t been able to truly listen either.  I was caught up in my own story of what was good, bad, right or wrong. I came from a very well-meaning place when I gave out advice, but often did it without checking if they wanted my advise. My children have been a huge teacher to me in this area. I have given so much advice and what they took onboard was very limited. And for good reason, how am I supposed to know what is right or wrong for them, that is for them to figure out themselves.

Last week I was sharing experiences with someone, we had 5 min each to share. When I was sharing she started sharing her experience. Now I imagine she did it to support me but Little Lisa felt upset and angry that she was invading “my time” this was supposed to be about me not her. I then noticed that I felt embarrassed about feeling that and was considering if I should just put up with the feeling which I have done most of my life blaming my feelings to to be wrong but also on some level blaming her for not sticking to the rule. However I now choose to be authentic (when I feel safe enough to do this) and I honour how I felt so I shared it with her. She actually really appreciated me sharing and said it helped her too. It was a win win. When we can authentically share and take responsibility for our own emotions and feelings the outcome is normally a beautiful experience even if in the midst of it all uncomfortable sensations arise.

So what does it really mean to listen? It means holding the space for the person you are listening to. Hearing them and being present for them whatever they are expressing. Witnessing them in whatever may or may not arise. Giving the gift of your time and attention. Letting them figure out what they need to do. It is good to check in before what they actually want from you during the time. They may want you to nod your head to show that you hear them, maybe put your hand on your heart to show you feel them or that may irritate them like mad and they just want you to be still. It is important that they as the receiver as the gift know exactly what they want and that may change during the process. It is also important that you as the giver have boundaries that are appropriate for you. 

Over the years I have improved my listening skills and the ability to be heard. When I am truly heard by someone I feel that person cares about me and what is going on in my life. I feel valued and supported by them. I feel loved and accepted for who I am in that moment. It feels like I am receiving a very precious gift from them and I am! They are giving me the gift of their time and presence. Holding me like a parent would a child, allowing the child to express and feel whatever arrises. Not trying to fix or make the child feel better but validating whatever the child is expressing. I imagine our parents were not very good at that so we are having to relearn. 

I invite you to try this with another person. You could choose a subject or just let whatever you are feeling be communicated. Set a timer for 10 minutes or however long you want. At the end thank the listener for hearing you then swap. After you have done that set a new timer for maybe 5 minutes and this time share your experience, what was it like to be heard and listen?  what was easy and what was difficult? Again thank the listener and swap. Play with it and don’t worry about “getting it wrong” most often we have to experience what we don’t want do know what we do want. Enjoy the exploration.