How can you hear my needs if you’re not listening?

How can you hear my needs if you are not listening?
“Listening has the quality of the wizard’s alchemy. It has the power to melt armor and to produce beauty amid hatred.”  Brian Muldoon
 “My mother used to say, “it’s not what you say, but the way you say it,” and I have found that to be true, and yet there is another part to that statement.
Clean and clear communication has two components; the first is how we speak when asking for what we need (that is void of any kind of punishment or manipulation), which was addressed in the previous blog this month (read here). 
The second part focuses on our ability to listen to what is being said versus how we think we hear it. 
When you listen to others what do you hear?
When someone is speaking, which of these two choices would you say is your primary default?
A.    I listen to my inner-commentary to what the other is saying and then respond to what I thought about it.
B.    I listen for what they are needing as they are speaking.
Most of us if being honest would select the first answer. 
Why is that?
Well, this is a vast topic in itself that I will try to simplify by breaking it down into some of the most common pitfalls of how we generally listen. 
1.  Most people do not listen to what is actually said.
They listen to their associated thoughts and or reactions in their heads about what the person has said, and therefore their response is to what they think they heard.
When this happens some people will interrupt the other person and interject their opinion and or reaction before the other finishes their full communication. 
People interrupt for many reasons.  It’s not because they are innately rude, but rather that they either have a fear they will forget what they are going to say, or have a strong reaction to what was said and feel like they must react. Another reason may be that they feel confused and have the fear that if they let the other person finish they will be totally lost.
2.    They are not listening to another from a clean slate but a conditioned response.
An example of this is if you had experienced someone who was critical of you in the past, then you will hear what comes out of their mouths as criticism and not that they have your best interest at heart. 
For some of us, this can be our parents, children, life partners, family members, friends and or boss and co-workers.  
We then have a conditioned way in which we listen and react to what they are going to say, based on our past interactions/experiences and interpretations. We now listen to them through a filter and have a conditioned response in our nervous system (read more).
3. Hearing someone’s request of you as a demand. 
The difference between a request and a demand is not only the tone in which it is said but also and more importantly if you feel like you have the freedom to say, “YES or NO” without being punished on some level. For example, when someone is requesting something that you hear as an imposition, and you authentically don’t want to do, but do not feel safe with saying “no” without any repercussions (aka listening and responding as a “yes-saying jackal”).
4. The belief that “you are responsible for the other person’s happiness and feelings of disappointment.”
Another version of this is “you are not allowed to disappoint me, and I am not allowed to disappoint you.”
All of these unconscious pitfalls listed above leave the speaker and listener feeling unfulfilled in the interaction. They impact our ability to feel safe, fully self-expressed and related to one another which is the foundation of intimacy (i.e., in-to-me-see) in our relationships.
listening sculpture
comforting friend“Your listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give to another.”
Discovering your default listening style and learning new ways to listen free of preconceived notions (aka with giraffe ears) will open up new worlds for you. Not only will you have a higher success rate of getting your needs met and meeting the needs of others, but you will learn how not to take anything personally (which of course takes practice), and the freedom around saying “yes or no” which will diminish unnecessary suffering creating safe, healthy and satisfying relationships. 


Are you interested in gathering these tools for yourself?

“The Art of Clean Communication” 

Location: Cherylyn Salon 430 S. Bedford Road (Rt.22)Armonk, NY 10504 
Dates: Sunday, May 19th and Monday, May 20th, 2019(This is a 2-part workshop) 
Times: Sunday 6-9pm Monday 6-9pm 
Cost: $225 per person 

Register with your partner or friend ($30 per person savings)Cost: $195 per person 

Register now, space is limited!


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