Can you remember a time when you felt truly heard?
If so, you might have said to yourself “she gets what I mean; he understands my dilemma; my friends cared enough to just listen and be present”. I hope you have felt this way often.
To listen with intent is an art. Difficult to master; powerful in its impact. To be fully in the present and to listen to a person is an act of love. An act of respect. An act of honoring what they are trying to convey.
Recently a client and I explored her “needs, wants and desires”. When we began the session, I asked her if there is anything that came up during the 1st session with me. “Yes, I got more in touch with what needs, wants and desires mean to me.” She then spelled them out. As always, I learn from my clients if I’m willing to listen. She was surprisingly clear and broke these 3 things down in a concrete way reflecting on her present life and her hopes for the future. This was an excellent entry point to the session.
Afterwards, I got thinking. What is one of our most basic needs that wasn’t on her list – more than a want, more than a desire? My client shared her basic needs as shelter, family, food, money, safety.
I believe that feeling deeply loved (truly heard) is one of our core needs. And sadly, this seems to be absent for many. I might just ask her what she thinks about this in our next session.
So love as a basic human need includes being heard by someone. This requires you as the listener to be one who really does care enough to just be there or encourage further investigation.
THE LISTENING PROJECT
Some of you may know that I am inching toward the launch of THE LISTENING PROJECT. I’m in research and practice mode right now.
By the way, being a champion listener is a lifelong challenge. I trust you agree. And there are many wiser than me who are doing the research. Here is a book I want to recommend.
“You’re Not Listening – what you’re missing and why it matters,” Kate Murphy, Celadon Books, 2019
Excerpts from the Introduction:
In modern life, we are encouraged to listen to our hearts, listen to our inner voices, and listen to our gut, but rarely are we encouraged to listen carefully and which intent to other people. Instead, we are engaged in a dialogue of the deaf, often talking over one another at cocktail parties, work meetings, family dinners; groomed as we are to lead the conversation rather than follow it. …..Value is placed on what you project, not what you absorb. [We’ll talk about introverts at a later date! My addition]
….. To really listen is to be moved physically, chemically, emotionally, and intellectually by another person’s narrative.
Are you motivated to take a look at your own listening skills? How about observing others?
For the next week, put on your observer’s cap and notice what you do during a conversation or watch others in the act of exchange. Are you/they truly having a conversation? Are you/they listening to one another? And please report back. Would love to hear about your experience. Contact me.