Listening is not passive, it’s not ‘doing nothing’.
Listening is not the absence of presence, it’s all about presence.
Listening is stopping what you are doing to be there for someone else.
Listening is an end in itself – taking in what the other person has to say.
Listening involves the eyes, ears and heart.
Listening is not only for the purpose of making suggestions or finding solutions.
Listening is being responsive and being there when your partner needs you.
Listening is giving of your time, your heart, your space.
Listening is letting go and putting aside all of your thoughts, judgments, preconceptions, fears and worries for a few minutes, so that you can fully listen to and hear your partner.
Listening is stopping everything else, pressing pause. Stop moving, stop multitasking, give all your attention to the other person.
True listening makes the person who is speaking feel seen, heard, and valued.
It takes practice, like toning a ‘muscle’, and it’s a good idea to begin with a few minutes when listening is the main activity, the only thing you are doing.
Here’s a way to get started. Set aside ten minutes with your partner and find a quiet place to sit. Choose which person will share.
A – I have some thoughts and feelings on my mind about…
B – I am here to listen to you. I am putting everything else aside for this time. You are important to me. I’m not thinking about work or other people. I am open to hear whatever you want to share with me. I am listening. Go ahead – I’m here and I’m ready.
And then – look into their eyes and…listen.
What have you conveyed?
Love, acceptance, time, attention.
What if both people need to be heard?
When your listening ‘muscles’ are stronger, there will be time for both of you to share and for both of you to listen.
When you have created a space dedicated to listening, when listening is a priority in your relationship, you will each know that you will have a chance to be heard, that your turn will come.
Listening is making time and space to take in whatever the other person has to convey.
Without solutions, without fear, without judgment.
Listening is an act of love.
Interested in more relationship reflections? Read my blog You Go First: Practicing Gratitude in Your Relationship