Really listening to another person starts with listening to yourself.
I started the year by challenging you to slow down and own your life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Next, I showed you the importance of becoming a belief detective, which allows you to gain an understanding of how your beliefs are formed, how they are self-reinforcing, and how they determine the limits of your possibilities.
Our journey to becoming Soul-Full women continues this month, as we look at Listening.
Slowing down in time and space not only allows us to hear our inner selves, it allows us to pause and listen to others. Without that pausing breath, we tend to hear what others are saying as a threat. We are reacting from our survival ego rather than responding from our Soul-Full selves.
Recently, a ten-year-old client (who we’ll call Miranda) reminded me about the importance of listening.
Throughout our session, Miranda showed and expressed many emotions. She expressed a great deal of frustration about not feeling heard by her teacher and her parents. It was loud and clear to me that Miranda's focus was not on just "having her way" or "getting attention" as many grown-ups kept telling her; it was that those around her were not respecting her need to be heard and seen. That frustration was keeping her stuck from any learning and emotional growth.
Without appropriate adult response and guidance, Miranda moved away emotionally from those in her life, instead of toward them. I found it very sad that she had shut down communication with the very people she needed to maintain connection with in her daily life.
As adults, we react much the same way. How often have you given up trying to talk to your spouse, mother or sister because they just don't listen? Learn from others' behavior and slow down enough so that you can listen with your whole being to what people are trying to say. How well we listen to others reflects the importance we place on them. And when others feel listened to and heard, they are then more open to positive relationships with you.
I find that, as challenging as it is sometimes, when I slow down enough to connect my heart and my two ears to what others are saying to me before I engage my potentially reactive mouth, it is a much better experience for me and the other person. Often, I find out that what I was thinking and what they were saying were not even close.
Do I do this all the time? Am I a saint? Hardly. I have my days when my potentially reactive mouth is in high gear. Often I find that my body communicates to me through tense neck muscles, headaches and lack of focus. That's when I try to stop and listen to my body and reconnect with my Soul-Full self.
The more I'm connected with that part of myself, the more I'm connected with others. It is a conscious choice that I make frequently each day. Tune in, listen to yourself and you'll be better able to really hear others.
Soulfull Woman Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker and life coach who has helped many women find that elusive "something missing" in their lives. Like so many women, you may be feeling helpless, powerless, and hopeless. Deborah's experience, insight, and wisdom will guide you onto the path of a soulfull You: confident, empowered, and hopeful. Become the change you want to see in your life.