-By Maneesha Ashutosh
Did you know that hearing and listening are not the same? Well, you are in for a surprise then! Listening is not just a part of communication, it is an art and it is definitely an acquired skill. Although it seems unconnected to building relationships, listening is what makes or breaks a relationship. Read on to know how to listen and change your perception for good!
Most people think that to become a good communicator they have to focus on becoming great speakers, but listening is just as important as speaking in the communication process. Is there a lack of trust in your relationship? Has it become dull and boring, even though everything else is going fine? Well, Not just a good listener, being an empathetic listener is very important because relationships are built on give-and-take and trust which can only be fostered when you know what your partner wants.
Art of Listening
I would like to reiterate that listening is an acquired skill and not something we are born with. To hone our listening skills the first step is the willingness to do it. All said and done, love is what brings two people together but listening is what makes it tick!
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill
Make eye contact
Make eye contact while speaking and listening. You may be listening, but if you are looking away or doing something, it gives an impression of disinterest. If you are really in the middle of an important chore, request your partner to wait for a moment and then give your full attention when your partner is speaking.
Although, it is very tempting to jump to conclusions and drown your partner with solutions when he/she is speaking, think about your solutions. Do you really think they could not have come up with this? Why are they telling you this simple problem? It is because they want to be heard. All you have to do is listen. It is not as easy as it sounds but this can work wonders for your relationship if you just stop giving the list of solutions and give a listening ear!
Giving your undivided attention and listening to what the other person has to say will build lasting trust. It shows that you care for what the other person has to say.
When you are in an important discussion in the family, restate what your partner has just said in your own words. This proves that you’re listening carefully – after all, you wouldn’t be able to repeat anything if you weren’t paying attention.
When your partner shares something meaningful, listen. Don’t give advice, share your opinion or recount anecdotes. Most people listen with an intent to answer or rather react, rather than understand. Most of us itch to give advice at the first chance we get but refrain from it unless your partner specifically requests feedback. We sometimes assume other people want advice when, actually, all they want is someone to listen to. Often, when we have the opportunity to talk to someone who listens, we find that the best listener enables us to listen to ourselves.
“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.” Dean Jackson
The Best Gift
Listening is a relationship skill most of us are yet to acknowledge. Active listening is the best gift you can give your partner- ever! Listening is an activity where you are not just waiting for your turn to speak. This kind of listening means you are actually making an effort to understand your partner’s point of view and how she/he is thinking and feeling.
It is an emotional skill that is a lot harder than engaging in counter-complaints when your partner lists her/his complaints. Even when your partner is complaining, listen first. There is a lot of time to react and respond. Listening also impresses on your partner that you are paying attention to your own and your partner’s body language. Eye contact is especially important to show you care. Practice calming yourself by reminding yourself that this is more about your partner than about you. This is the ultimate gift you can give your partner when she/he is distressed or otherwise. In a nutshell, listening means no interruptions, no comments, no defensiveness and no argumentative statement when the partner wants to be heard. Who knows, this change could be the chrysalis of your relationship!