There is immense power associated with truly listening in relationships.
An excellent way to catch your partner's real needs is to master the art of listening with the whole you and with all your presence. Your listening becomes active instead of passive.
Listening becomes more than the words that are being said, it becomes all that is not said verbally, such as emphasis, tonality, body language and silences.
The source of many conflicts
There are many conflicts and agonizing quarrels which could have been avoided or handled in a much more loving way, if more of us had been able to really listen actively to their partner. Often when we listen, we are busy with ourselves, with our own agenda, rather than thinking in terms of us and the other person.
Often, we have our own answers playing or rehearsing in our head instead of being aware of how our partner breathes, how she moves her eyes or with what degree of freedom she moves her hands.
The magic occurs
The magic occurs when you get yourself inside your partner, feel what they feel beyond words, live as them to experience what their world looks like, walk in their shoes for a part of the road. Listening is much more than just hearing. To listen means, apart from receiving the words, that we interpret everything that we perceive with our various senses.
That includes what we see, hear, feel by touch and feel in terms of feelings and smells. A good and effective listener listens actively, not passively. That means listening to such things as tempo, word choice, body language and metaphors or imagery that the other person uses.
The supercomputer between our ears
Our brain is like a super-tuned machine, it clearly has a much higher capacity than what is used in order to hear what another person says. If we do not give this super-capable machine data to engage with, it will almost certainly find its own things to do. Like to daydream while the other is talking or working on figuring out a good answer to give, as soon the other person is silent.
To listen attentively to another person, we need to consciously focus our attention and give the brain tasks, for example, to be attentive to the other person's breathing.
Filippa: When I became aware of that I thought it was better to come up with quick responses and I thought the slow response was a sign of "inertia", I realized that holding that belief had made it difficult for me to really listen. I was so busy with coming up with a fast and good answer.
Then I realized that the people who I think are good at communicating so that others feel heard, often spoke slower and often less than those they communicated with. They asked a lot of questions until they truly understand the other.
Today I choose to lower the tempo to give myself time to think, after the other person has finished talking. I'm not as afraid of silence, and I feel that I have an easier time to understand people and it creates trust.