Feeling heard is so important, but often in our busy lives we can walk away from social setting feeling like no-one really understood or listened to what we said.
In a family situation or with a friend effective listening can really help build a strong relationships and trust. Listening helps to establish a connection between speaker and listener.
To do it effectively requires focus and attention which can be a hard skill for some people. It’s more than just a transfer of information from one person to another, it’s connection.
What is listening (and what it isn’t)?
Definition: to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing.
A combination of things happen when someone is really listening to you. You can almost feel them listening. It’s their body language, their eye contact, their facial expression, the compassion and interest that oozes out.
Do you feel like no-one is listening to you?
Listening isn’t about trying to fix someone by firing solutions at them. It’s not about thinking up the answer before they’ve finished their sentence. It’s more about allowing them to speak unhurried and letting thoughts come out as words.
Sometimes just saying something out loud is medicine enough, answers and solutions aren’t always needed.
What does it feel like to be listened to?
You get a whole lot of great feelings when someone gives you their time, attention and focus. You feel understood, cared for, accepted, not judged, which can help release tension.
Effective listening also, builds trust, a connection with the listener, and it can help make sense of a situation and validate your thoughts.
What happens when we don’t feel heard?
It can feel frustrating at least and you can pretty much use all the negative opposites to the list above.
Human beings have a deep desire to be listened to. It starts when you are a baby, crying to communicate and needing your caregiver to respond to this communication. This need of being listened to continues throughout our life.
When you open up to tell someone something, you can feel vulnerable.
If your words are then met with resistance, dismissal or another motive from the listener instead of open listening then it doesn’t encourage you to continue.
Bottling up feelings and emotions can have consequences on your health, as it can manifest itself in escapist behaviour or increasing your stress or anxiety level leading to ill mental or physical health.
If you have a friend or relative that opens up to you, then try really properly listening to them, without throwing solutions or jumping in with your agenda. See the benefits it brings. Better still they might reciprocate too.
If you want to talk to someone unbiased and neutral about a situation you are going through then get in touch with Emma now, our Mother’s Mentor. I’m here specifically to listen to you and help you work it though so you can move forward.