Listening is a response.
Listening is most often interrupted by reactions. We have a thought or a feeling. We react with talking, facial expressions, and body language.
Listening requires that we stop talking. This requires more than shutting our mouth, biting our tongue, or not saying anything. Those are all good things to do, but we actually have to stop preparing to talk.
When we are thinking about what you want to say, we are still talking in our head. Stop talking.
Seek to understand. Listening is not about you. Listening is about the person talking.
They may not communicate well, but they are trying to communicate something. They may say, “It’s your fault I feel this way. If you would change, I would feel better.” They are trying to be heard to get their needs met.
This isn’t about letting yourself be verbally abused. If that happens, practice self-control, (see previous post, Part 2).
Acknowledge what’s been said. “I heard what you said. I don’t know what to say in response, but I heard you. Thanks for telling me.”
We want the people we love to talk with us and to us. Create a space where they can. It’s up to them if they do. Do your part.