One of the most important shifts in our approach to our relationship paradigm is to go from the belief that the world and relationships is all about me, to being about us.
Relationships are about us, not me. It is when I focus on just myself that I feel pain, that's when I feel emotions that makes me act in childish ways that won't do my relationship any favors or I take a parental approach that criticize my partner.
It happens occasionally that we in our relationships bury us in ourselves. We feel unfairly treated or overlooked. The moment that I realize that I have got stuck in to an exaggerated ego-focus and instead can move on to focus on both others and myself, in that same moment I free myself and get access to more of myself.
Markus: I can clearly see the difference between focusing on me and focusing on us. It has been easy for me to slip in to an exaggerated focusing on myself and no passionate or lustful relationships will be built there, that's for sure.
It is an amazing liberation the moment I step out of my own needs and in to being fully with my partner. Things that just a moment ago seemed impossible to overcome are quickly blown away and are being replaced with the opportunity of free choice and free from pain.
An American by the name Zig Ziglar who has a long and successful career as a salesman and developer of human potential captured it all in an excellent way when he said: "if you help enough people to get what they want, you can have everything you want".
The same goes for relationships, if you help your partner to get what he or she wants often enough, without violating yourself, you can have everything you wish for in the relationship. If instead, you think of all you want and strive to make your partner to give it to you, you might as well try and dig a ditch through Siberia with the help of a toothbrush and teaspoon. It will be about as effective and you will experience a similar grim climate in the end.
Note that it is about giving your partner what he or she really needs, not what you think they need or maybe not what they are saying to want. To really understand what your partner needs is to forget about yourself for a while and become a detective that captures every signal, verbal or non-verbal, to understand your partners need.
If you do this from a centered place, a place where you give for the giving rather than for the receiving back, then you have freed the magical power of us instead of me.
The power in really listening
An excellent way to catch your partner's real need is to master the art to listen with all of you and your present. Your listening becomes active instead of passive. The listening becomes more than the words that are said, it becomes all of what isn't said in the shape of emphasis, tone, body language and silences.
There are a lot of conflicts and wrenching arguments that could have been avoided or handled in a much more loving way if more people had had the ability to really listen to their partner. Often when we listen we are busy with me, with our own agenda, instead of thinking of us. Often we have our own reply playing in our head instead of paying attention to how our partner breathe, how she moves her eyes or with what degree of freedom she is moving her hands.
The magic happens when you get in to your partner, feel what they feel beyond the words, live with them the way their world looks like, walk in their shoes. To listen is much more than just hearing. Listening means, expect taking in the words, we interpret everything that we perceive with several of our senses. What we see, hear, feel by touch and experience in the shape of feelings and smells. A good and effective listener listens actively, not passively. It means to listen to such things as pace, choice of words, body language and metaphors or imagery that the person is using.
The super computer between our ears
Our brain us like a super tuned computer, it is clearly overdose for the functions that we need to use to be able to hear what another person says. If we don't give this super capacity tasks to do it will most certainly find its own things to do such as daydreaming while someone else is talking or it will engage in working out a good answer to give as soon as the other person has finished. To listen attentively to another person we need to deliberately aim our attention and give our brain tasks such as being attentively on the other persons breathing.
Filippa: When I became aware that I thought that it was better to come with quick replies and that I thought slow replies was a sign of stupidity, I realized that this truth that I had made it hard for me to really listen as I was too busy trying to come up with a good and quick reply.
When I realized that the people that I think is good at communicating so that other people feel heard often spoke slower and often less than the ones they were communicating with. They were asking a lot of questions until they really understood the other one.
Today I choose to slow down the pace to give myself time to think, after that the other person has stopped talking. I'm not as afraid of the silence as I used to be and I feel it is easier to understand people and it creates trust.
The potential of active listening
Many become surprised when they get over the threshold to active listening. Even what before seemed trite or even boring has the ability to become really intriguing when we really decide to be present and fully listen. The one who speaks will feel more relaxed and by doing so be able to give more valuable information to the one who is listening.
Especially when it comes to situations with conflicts, the ability to actively listen becomes an amazing tool. It can be little things that make a big difference, like remain in eye contact and nod to show that you are present with the other person.
We have previously discussed the technique to breathe in to the heart. Overall, breathing is a good way to create good conditions to a good listening. It is easy that we forget such a basic thing as breathing, especially if what the other person is saying wakes difficult feelings within ourselves. To breathe deep gives the brain more oxygen and it enhances your ability to listen.
A fantastic way to do the shift from focusing on me to focusing on us is to ask questions. Questions help showing interest and will encourage the speaker to broaden and deepen the contents in what is being said.
Markus: I have experienced several times how I have met people that I have never met before and where I have spent 100% of my focus to understand that person and give them my attention.
I especially remember a conversation with a business contact where I was going to offer my products to the person in question. We met for an hour and I think he spoke for fifty-five minutes of this and I barely spoke for five.
At the end of our meeting he said that he felt great confidence in me and it resulted in the selling of products without me having to do any actual selling.
I think it is the same way in for example relationships, if we really devote ourselves to give our partner full attention, find their need and meet them we will get everything we wish for without much effort.
When we manage to shift to take others in, to be fully with others, to focus on us instead of me most of our pains will disappear. When we are fully engaged in ourselves we easily end up in low slumps. When we focus our whole being on being a part in a relationship and open the door for others to step in to our moment that is when the magic called boundless possibilities happens.
For the next twenty-four hours, become a hunter of curiosity. One, who in every meeting with other people make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. This is by you giving them the gift of attentively listening to them.
Your mission is for everyone you meet, the bus driver, the clerk in the grocery store, your partner or work colleague. Pay attention to the result of your focusing.