Cindie Chavez ©2019
“How do I listen to you? As if you were the Alpha and the Omega of all sound.” ~ Hafiz
“We need to talk.”
My husband tells me that those four words strike fear into the heart of most people.
That may be true – and, those four words are also, literally, true. We do need to talk. We need to connect, to communicate.
As humans we are small group primates – we thrive in small groups, and we are wired for connection.
I would dare say that most of our problems stem from a lack of good communication, a lack of understanding. Relationship problems as well as societal problems.
As humans, we are also affected by the phases of the moon and planetary influences. (As an astrology buff I entertain this idea.) A few days ago, the moon was new in the sign of Gemini, thus beginning Gemini season. If you were born between May 21 and June 20, your sun sign is Gemini (and, Happy Birthday to you!)
Here’s how this relates to the topic at hand – Gemini (and Gemini season) is ruled by the planet Mercury, who also rules the 4th astrological house, the house of communication. Gemini season (and this lunation cycle which lasts through the end of June) is a supportive time to practice improving communication skills.
So, yes – we need to talk. And, we need to listen.
Even though we often think of a conversation in terms of words and what we think we need to say, equally important, possibly even more important, is how we listen.
Active listening is a learned skill. For some of us chatterboxes it is a skill learned with difficulty. It takes self-control. Some of us are very good at producing scads of words, beautiful, well-articulated words, and allowing them to come cascading out of our mouths at full speed. And now, here comes this active listening idea and it’s like trying to eat popcorn one little buttery kernel at a time when we’re used to wolfing it down by the handful.
Attempting to be a good listener also requires loads of patience – because we are not going to interrupt, and how long is this person going to keep talking? – We don’t know. But patience is not the whole of it. We can force ourselves to “wait our turn” but in reality, if we stop there, we’ve just become good “waiters” and not truly good listeners.
Deep listening is more than just politely waiting our turn. It involves giving our conversational partner our full attention.
And please, put the phone away. Make eye contact. See what you notice as far as your partner’s body language, tone of voice, facial expression, emotion or lack of emotion, and energy levels.
Listen without judgment. This is another skill that is not easily won. We’re all pretty damn judgy most of the time. We constantly compare everything. Because we have opinions and beliefs, damn it! That’s okay, just decide to be curious instead. Curiosity kills judgment.
The truth is we rarely know the whole story, and we won’t ever know it if we can’t shut-up and listen – without judging.
Breathe. Be curious. Assume positive intent. Give your conversational partner the benefit of the doubt. You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying. We all get to choose our own viewpoints, opinions, and beliefs.
Agreement is not required, but understanding is crucial. Make the intention to gain understanding instead of worrying about your response, giving advice, or attempting to “fix” anything. Sometimes the most powerful results come about because the person who is speaking suddenly feels seen and heard.
A decade ago, one of my relationship coaching instructors said something that I’ve never forgotten – “Listening is so close to loving you can hardly tell the difference.”
Do you want to show someone how much you care about them? Do you want to improve your relationships? The next time someone tells you that “we need to talk”, try listening to them deeply. This one skill could change your relationships, and your life.
Cindie Chavez is the creator of The Voice of Love Workshop – a sweet and powerful little self-study course for improving relationships (including your relationship with yourself!) that you can complete in about an hour in the privacy of your own home. And, it’s on sale this month.
More by Cindie:
Cindie Chavez is known as “The Love & Magic Coach”. She is the creator of MOONTREAT™ – and she has some great free stuff for you at her website: www.cindiechavez.com
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