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Listeners Blog

Tag Archives: Speaking Truth

Feb
8

You want to be a supportive listener. You want to be there for your friend, you want to really hear and give the gift of understanding. But you’re having a problem finding enough empathy inside yourself to help them find their inner truth.

Maybe you hear them get stuck on a lack of material things that you don’t value. Maybe you think they are creating their own relationship conflict just to add drama to their life. Maybe you want to let them know that they have reached a cul-de-sac on their conversational journey.

It happens. We’re all human, and it’s difficult not to have an emotional reaction while listening to other people talk through their issues.

In fact, just reading about friends’ successes online can make us feel less satisfied with our own lives, according to a new study about the new phenomenon called “Facebook Envy.”

But here’s one fascinating takeaway about “Facebook Envy.” The people most likely to become jealous and frustrated are those who passively read posts and look longingly at others’ vacation photos without engaging in any active conversations themselves. Their passivity puts them in a position to be envious!

In real life, an active, engaged listener will let someone know when it sounds like they are taking an unproductive talk detour. They will speak up. To do this while still remaining supportive, you must first understand and be in command of your own feelings. Why does this particular topic cause a reaction in you as an engaged listener? Next, earnestly try to understand if there might be more going on behind the actual words being spoken.

Once you have that sorted out, it is important to let the speaker know how you are feeling. Honestly acknowledge all the emotions in play on both sides, so a deeply meaningful conversation can take place.

Helpful tip on managing emotions:

A “mysteriously” helpful exercise to lessen the awful feelings that accompany being envious or judgmental is to recognize when you are having either of these feelings and actually identify and say to yourself “envy” or “judging.” With practice, labeling these feelings becomes a powerful, helpful habit that can greatly lessen being envious or judgmental.

Let us know how this practice works for you.

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Jan
17

We all know what it feels like to be ignored: it can be frustrating and even anger provoking. If the situation continues for a long time, we may come to expect to be rejected and stop trying to be heard altogether.

When we close ourselves off from emotional feedback, our self-worth takes a big hit. We can begin to believe our own distorted view of who we are and wind up feeling stressed out, confused, depressed and generally bad about our lives.

That’s when we seem to only focus on the downside, turning away well-deserved praise and unable to handle criticism constructively. It’s hard to find a healthy perspective.

According to the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “People are not disturbed by events themselves, but rather by the views they take of them.” It’s up to us to identify the thought patterns that lower self-esteem and do what’s needed to develop a more balanced view of the world and our place in it.

Talking to a supportive listener –someone who will truly hear us without judgment or imposing his or her own views –can be an invaluable first step.

Some experts suggest writing down what upsets us — and chronicling our reactions will help identify underlying causes, but writing is just one approach: a solitary act.

Hearing ourselves talk about a situation in a safe, encouraging environment with someone who is completely focused on what we have to say adds a greater emotional depth to our words. And outcomes can be more tangible with someone to listen to our accomplishments on the journey into self-worth.

Give one of our trained listeners a call and see how good it feels to talk your way to your inner truth.

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Nov
20

Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life. — Joan Lunden

When we feel we have not been heard, especially if we have tried to talk to someone about our true inner feelings, we can feel frustrated. Sometimes that frustration can develop into anger or resentment directed at those who we think haven’t taken the time to really listen. We wonder if they really care about us at all.

The best cure for those hurt feelings is to find someone who will truly hear us, a supportive listener who will help us talk through our vital issues.

But there is another step that only we can take on our journey to understanding. We must be willing to forgive, to get over the anger and resentment, to let go of the hurt. This may take a fundamental shift in perspective, but it’s worth the effort.

Think about when you felt that someone was not truly listening – maybe it seemed like they were more interested in giving advice than support. Did you catch them at a bad time, when they couldn’t give you the time you needed to fully express yourself? Maybe they thought you were looking for an immediate answer rather than a deeper conversation.

Or maybe they didn’t hear what you were really saying because you weren’t really listening to them. Few of us open important conversations about our feelings directly. If both parties to a conversation don’t start out on the same page, it takes only a few missed verbal cues on either side for the whole effort to end in confusion, misunderstanding and perhaps hurt feelings.

A good listener always asks questions to be sure he or she is understanding what the speaker is saying – both the meaning and the intent. Then the conversation can unfold fully and naturally, and no one will go away unhappy.

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Oct
2

“Thinking out loud” is more than a well-worn phrase. How many times have you been in a group where talking about a new idea has sparked the creative process? Once a thought is spoken, it can lead to other thoughts and feelings, not just in a listener but in the speaker as well.

There is also a deeper truth in the idea that sometimes you “can’t hear yourself think.” When you are dealing with life challenges on your own, without being able to express your thoughts, you are less likely to reach a solution. Talking it through really does help, if you have the right person to talk to.

A supportive listener can help you gain clarity surrounding your issues, without coaching or judging or offering advice. The most important aspect of a healing conversation is that you, the speaker, know that you have been truly, deeply, completely heard. That allows you to really listen to yourself – to hear yourself think all the way through to a new life path.

For many people, truly being heard in supportive, non-judgmental way is a new experience. It can bring up powerful emotions; it might even be a little scary. But that’s OK. It’s all part of your journey to self-discovery and healing.

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Sep
10

What is the difference between hearing and listening? Hearing is the physical act of perceiving sound. Listening is the intellectual act of perceiving meaning. For true communication to occur, we must be willing to do both.

The words “communication” and “communion” share obvious roots. To fully share with another person, to actually “hear where they’re coming from,” we need to set aside everything else. Not just the smartphone and the TV and the to-do list, but also the mental filters that we all have constructed from personal experience and unexamined assumptions.

Information that agrees with our built-in filters finds an easy path into our brains. Input that challenges what we think we know about the world — and ourselves — has a more difficult time getting through. That’s why truly listening to and understanding another person can be hard work.

It’s not hard to pass judgment on the words someone says, point out their “errors” or tell them what to do, and move on. It is much more challenging to listen intentionally to the meaning behind the words, to keep an open mind and an open heart that allows their search for their own truth to unfold. When we speak, we should acknowledge the value of their ideas and encourage further revelations.

How do we know we have really listened to another person? It can be a transformational experience. Both speaker and listener feel uplifted, inspired, connected on a deeper level — a true communion.

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