Do you listen to yourself?
Sitting alone in a room quietly listening to myself? No. My mind will get bombarded with 1000 different thoughts. Sometimes one thought that will shoot off into another thought into another thought and so on. Then I think I fell over in sleep mode. LOL
When it comes to people, well … I try to listen to myself, but due to my emotion deregulation issues I find it difficult most times.
Try listening to yourself first. Take a few minutes and sit quietly somewhere without distractions. And just listen to yourself. A very simple form of medication. Breathe and listen to your inner voice.
Are you a passive or active listener?
I’m not a good listener. I’m a passive listener. I’m one of those people who doesn’t pay much attention to those who are not in my inner circle. I mean, sure I listen and I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher talking at me. I can admit my faults and this is a major one. I have tried (most of the time) to listen AND retain the information that I just heard.
If I just met you in a bar, I will nod and smile and agree with things you say like a good passive listener, but I won’t remember some of the things you told me the next day. Not because of the booze I drank, but because I figure I probably won’t ever see you again or that we will not form a lifelong relationship of any kind.
If you are in my inner circle and share with me things that are important in your life. Yes I will be listening. I’m still a passive listener not because I want to but because I interrupt and toss in my advice or personal experiences in to the conversation. I hate that about myself. I wish I could shut up and just listen and not offer any advice.
I used to tell my children and my Liege to touch me on my arm so that the behavior will register into my head that I’m to stop what I’m doing and listen to who ever is talking to me. Because when they would come to talk to me, I would be doing other stuff or in zombie mode and wouldn’t remember what they told me. Then they would say “Don’t you remember? I told you …. blahblahblah.” UGH … I hated that.
The following are some suggestions to help you with becoming a better listener.
- Give your partner/talker your undivided attention. Put down or shut off your cell phone. Shut off any other distractions such as TV, radio. No multitasking of any kind.
- Look at the person who is speaking to you. Face them, your body should be towards them so that they know that you are focused on what they are saying to you.
- Do NOT interrupt, correct or pass judgment, especially when the talker is expressing negative feelings.
- Try to put yourself in their place, in your own words repeat what they said to you so that they know that you heard them. Summarize what they said to you so that they know you understand what they said to you.
- If your partner needs to talk to you about something important and the kids need attention, chores need to be finished, etc. Set a specific time when you both can talk without interruptions. Tell the kids that mom & dad are having quiet time in a comfortable room in the house and can’t be bothered for a specific amount of time.There are no set rules on any of these, it’s what works for you to become a better listener.
When my Liege and I first got together I would come home and emotionally vomit all over him. I had to get out my frustration, anger that I had experienced during the day. In the beginning he took it all personally. One day I came home ready to explode. He stops me and asks “Does this involve me? Did I do something to upset you?” I looked at him a bit confused as if to say “Why would you ask me that?” “NO. it has nothing to do with you!!! I just need to talk and vent.” A huge sigh of relief from him and he was ready to listen. I spewed unimportant stuff on him, it helped me with my emotional deregulation issues. It has become a routine for his listening and me talking. We set time before going to bed to discuss relationship stuff. That way we both know that whatever is being discussed is important because it’s about “us.”
One thing that we talk about is that we for any reason we switch roles from listener and talker that we are going to have lots of problems. I have tried to listen without interrupting or being distracted BUT I often fail miserably, haven’t given up trying (yet).