Recent events have lead me to ponder on the art of listening. I’ve either been on the listening end or the sharing end and I’ve thought so many times who I have felt safe with and who feels safe with me. What are they sharing? Are they letting their guard down and being completely open and vulnerable or are they constantly changing words and thoughts so as not to provoke a judgment out of me. The better you are at listening, the more space you’ll create to be heard… so if you want to be heard, learn to listen and create meaningful friendships.
Generally, people probably don’t mind advice but sometimes you can end up feeling like you’re on the receiving end of a missile attack. Instead of feeling supported, you may find yourself feeling more broken than when you first started. As I found myself feeling more broken, I wondered: what makes a safe place for people to talk and be open?
Most people already know the answers they seek
Most people already know deep down what their true situation is, even if they don’t voice it to you – they know. They just want a place to sound off and vent – a place to hear it echo back to their own ears. Having a space to fall apart and process the information is one of the best ways to hear ourselves and our truths.
Here are 3 key elements in creating a safe place for your loved ones to vent to you:
1. JUST LISTEN
We are often quick to interject with our experiences and this time when and that time how.
2. RESERVE JUDGMENT
If you are fair and honest and take true inventory of your own life, you will find that there were many many times you fell short of what you “should do”. Maybe you don’t even have to look back too far. There may be many areas in your life where you still lack direction and perfection. Stay grounded. As your thoughts float in and out, let them. They will surface and disappear. Ears open. Mouth shut. Judgment reserved.
3. ASK QUESTIONS
I have a friend who asks me questions. It helps me to process. They are not judgemental questions. Yes, there’s a difference. She asks me questions to prompt thought – to help me think things through. Why do you think that happens? What makes you think that? How did you feel when…? What do you think could make this better?
When I look back on my life, I find that I always knew the answers deep down. Sometimes I had to talk about something over and over again or to tell the same story to more than one person. Of course this meant hearing many different suggestions, advice and opinions. Deep down, I would always know the answer and even if the answer resonated with someone’s advice, it would not sound right to me until I felt it. It had to resonate with my vibration and where I was at that time in my life.
Follow your own intuition
I had a process I had to go through and even if someone said I could have saved myself time if I had only done this or that at the time they said, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because it was my process and I could not be rushed or pushed. If I acted when someone else said I should then it would feel like I was swimming against the current. My intuition had to be in agreement.
I had to do things when I was ready – it was the only way to make a move with grace.
If we learn to be better of a listener and less of a judge, it would make a lot of things easier on us.
Who is a good listener in your life?