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Listeners Blog

Tag Archives: Talking through issues

Feb
19

What if you could see the future or know exactly what other people were thinking? Not many people can do that – it’s an extremely rare and wonderful gift.

Even without clairvoyant powers, however, it’s easy to fall into the emotional traps of mind reading and fortune telling. And rather than enhance your life, these negative mental habits can cause lots of stress and anxiety.

Mind reading is when you jump to conclusions based on how you think other people see you. You assume others have a low opinion of you without any evidence. A conversation stops when you come into the room and you “just know” they were just then saying bad things about you.

Fortune telling leads you to predict the worst possible outcome of any situation. You were nervous during an interview, so you “just know” you won’t get the job, no matter how qualified you are. When you start to act on these assumptions, you can actually create the outcome you were dreading.

The best way to avoid these thinking traps is to talk through your issues with a supportive listener. If you ask yourself out loud why you think people are talking you down behind your back, you’ll probably hear how little sense that makes. If you can share your fears and doubts, they don’t seem so overwhelming and you can find positive ways to avoid your own worst-case scenario.

Find someone who can really hear you and help you put into your own words what is keeping you from finding your inner peace. When you do find it, you’ll know the future looks brighter.

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Jan
30

This might not come as a surprise, but research continues to prove that multitasking really isn’t very efficient.

In fact, the most recent study, from the University of Utah, found that the people who thought they were the best at multitasking were more likely to be those who were most easily distracted by interruptions. Previous studies have also shown that the human brain doesn’t switch gears very rapidly; it also doesn’t retain information received from multiple sources simultaneously very well.

When it comes to actually accomplishing tasks, focused individuals — those who don’t respond immediately to every email ding or pop-up message or bright, shiny object— actually get more done.

The same is true when it comes to listening. If you really want to hear what someone is saying, you need to clear a space, not only in your day but also in your mind. Truly meaningful conversations can only take place where there are no interruptions, no distractions. That allows you the freedom to concentrate completely on what the other person is saying. Then you can truly hear and support that person as he or she talks through important issues.

Creating an interruption-free zone for a conversation shows that you are sincerely interested in what the speaker has to say, and there is nothing more important in that moment to you than hearing it. That alone can help build the kind of trust needed to begin a conversational journey to an inner truth.

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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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Dec
21

I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
— Ernest Hemingway

One of the great mysteries of this life is why more people don’t listen to each other. There is so much to learn when others share their thoughts and feelings and views of the world. But most of us are too distracted by outside stimuli or our own inner dialog to pay real attention to what other people have to say.

When something is in short supply, it immediately gains in value. In today’s world, people willing to take the time to listen carefully, fully, and non-judgmentally are extremely hard to find. Yet anyone who has received the precious gift of being heard completely will never forget the experience – it is as wonderful as it is rare.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. 
— Bryant H. McGill

Active, supportive listening is one of the greatest acts of compassion a human being can commit. It is not a random act of kindness. It is focused and intentional and creates a lasting good that perhaps only the speaker can truly understand. It is truly one of the most powerful forces on earth.

Too often we underestimate the power a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
— Leo Buscaglia

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Nov
2

When people feel that they haven’t been heard for a long time, they naturally become frustrated. When they finally find someone who will truly listen, they may want to unload all of their pent-up issues at once.

Such venting can be a good start to a self-healing conversation. But a supportive listener will help a speaker move past a simple airing of grievances or obsession with one topic to deeper understanding.

Psychologists tell us the average person has about 50,000 thoughts per day. So why is it so easy to get stuck on just one?

The human psyche is very good at self-preservation. The more important or potentially painful an issue, the more likely we are to try to keep it isolated from the rest of our thoughts. The irony is that the more we try to avoid an issue, the more we tend to think about avoiding it, so it actually grows as a focus of our attention.

A good place to start bringing perspective to an issue that has taken hold of your thoughts is to refocus the conversation onto the emotions surrounding the thoughts.

When you say someone “made me so angry,” what does that really mean? It has less to do with that other person’s actions – or lack of action — and more to do with your own reactions.

A supportive listener will ask questions to help you explore your feelings about what happened, rather than letting you get stuck on repeated retellings of the incident. A really good listener will restate what he or she thinks you are saying, and working together, you can finally come to an authentic knowledge of your thoughts, your feelings, and yourself.

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Sep
27

We’ve mentioned before that one of our core beliefs is that being heard is valuable. We are here to hear you, to support you in your journey to discover your inner truth.

We feel listening is important because there are so many times when it can be a struggle to be heard. Think about the last time you tried to talk to your boss. Did he or she interrupt, say you shouldn’t worry, not take your concerns seriously? Or did you get the “look-engaged-until-they-stop-talking” routine they teach in management seminars?

How about your last doctor’s appointment? Studies have shown that while patients need an average of about two minutes to tell their story, doctors let them speak for about 20 seconds before interrupting. The result? After the visit, the doctor and the patient have very different interpretations of why the patient was there — nearly 50 percent of the time. The doctor wasn’t listening; the patient wasn’t heard.

Let us know about a time when you felt you weren’t heard. We’re here to listen.

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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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