Here is a list of people who aren’t listening.
• problem solvers: “Have you considered…” “Go do…” “you wouldn’t feel like that if…”
• cheerleaders: “I love you, and I believe in you!” “don’t worry – you can do this!” “You’re bigger than this!”
• Minimizers: “Be positive!” “Remember. There are people worse off.” “it’s not that bad!” “You shouldn’t worry.”
You think you’re a good listener and don’t fit into any of the categories above?
Then what it means is that you’re not self-aware. Because everyone does it.
A good way to notice that you’re doing it is by hearing you think/say “I am listening! But…”
What comes after that “but” is always “I think” (or can be rephrased with the “i” subject). It’s about you.
And listening is about not being about you.
Next time someone is talking to you, hold back the first two things and keep your mouth shut. Just hum along “uh-huh” “hmmm.”
Watch your loved one’s eyes light up and connect with you at a whole new level.
If your loved one is really used to you not listening, it might take a few of those for them to notice. Give them the chance.
Why does it take a while?
Because “not listening” creates non-listeners. Confiding your vulnerability and having a solution returned is incredibly hurtful and harmful. We are trained not to acknowledge the hurt because they’ll minimise that hurt too and cause more hurt.
So, they might express vulnerability to you then shut their ears knowing you’d immediately offer a solution instead of a listening ear.
Now, after you saw that expression, when you’re alone, think about this: Why is “having your opinion heard” more important to you than seeing this expression in your loved one’s face?
Does everything have to be about you?
If you really struggle making it about them not you,
Can it be about you making it about your loved one?