I’m Susan Regan, and today, I’m talking about “listening.”
I’m speaking to those of you, who are working on being better in your daily life.
Just want the audios? Here you go:
BEING BETTER IN YOUR DAILY LIFE:
Listening outside of ourselves is also just as important as listening inside.
My clients are so inspiring to me…
I recently got this great tip from one of my clients, who reminded me that we have two ears and one mouth, which suggests that we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we talk.
In the groups I run, I notice people giving each other the most sincere and genuine feedback. To me, there’s nothing more precious than hearing these things:
I love these kinds of in-tune, vulnerable, sensitive conversations.
Feeling heard is such a critical part of healing.
I also think of listening in a few other ways:
Are you listening to yourself?
Are you checking-in with yourself?
Here I go again with one of the most important concepts I keep talking about, which is inquiry!
Are you listening to the people around you and what they’re saying? Are you listening to your environment, and how is that environment making you feel?
In one of my groups, people talk about how, when they check into themselves, they actually start breaking through their oldest thought patterns. They notice that these thoughts, and thought patterns, might be just in their head — and not actually real (which can be very hard to accept).
Sometimes, if we just go into our bodies, we can leave the busyness of our minds, and figure out what part of our thoughts and feelings are really true.
Listening outside of ourselves is just as important as listening inside. What’s happening all around? What are you picking up? What’s draining you? What’s inspiring you? It’s good to take notice and listen to what’s outside of you. Is what’s outside of you influencing what’s going on inside?
One of my favorite meditations starts with getting centered and listening to the sound of your own breath.
Close your eyes and notice your breath as you’re drawing it in and through your body. Notice the pace of it, the depth of it — the exhale.
Once you’ve settled and listened inside, then, with your eyes still closed, start noticing what sounds are going on around you.
Start with your immediate environment. What do you hear in that space? Remain in that space for a bit and then move beyond the room and maybe go on down the street. Do you hear the wind in the trees? The cars on the road? The sound of voices?
Then tune back in to yourself.
Now consider that practice when you’re engaging someone in a conversation. Are you really listening to them, or are you just thinking about what you’re going to say next?
Listening is an artform.
Challenge yourself by seeing how tuned in you can be — to your conversations and the world around you.
How can you apply this to a specific challenge in your life? Read on…
DECIDING TO DIVORCE:
If you’re deciding to divorce, listening is going to be critically important.
I’ve been mentioning that “flipping back-and-forth mindset” and how the mind keeps tricking us — wanting us to believe one thing, but buy into another thing. When you’re deciding to change your relationship status, there are many things to listen to — but you have to also discern what to not listen to.
Tune-in to your feelings and listen to yourself. When there’s a difficult interaction between you and your partner, is it reminding you of something that has happened before? Did you say the usual thing, and (no surprise) did the usual thing happen?
Are you really listening to what your partner is actually saying? Do you really hear it or do you project something onto them and what they’re saying? Or… are you mind reading — what you think they’re saying and what it means?
Listening NEEDS to be connected to believing what you’re hearing.
Slow down. Truly listen and believe what you’re hearing.
Are you really hearing yourself as well? Tone and all?
Are you staying present enough, when you are in these patterns with your partner, to tune in to and notice your environment? Or, are the conversations so upsetting that you don’t even know where you are when you’re in these conversations? Does listening cause you to dissociate? Are you really present, or are you in another space?
So, my question for you is, how grounded, steady, breathing, tuned-in are you, when you’re listening? Maybe, if you can stay grounded, you can actually hear what’s going on around you, being said to you, and happening inside you.
What kind of tuning in do we need to do, if we are listening to our kids and working with our co-parent?
What do your kids say? I like to remind co-parents to think about what their kids are saying to them (if they’re having a hard time) as symptomatic of an issue — but not necessarily an issue with what the other parent is or is not doing — and not necessarily true.
Kids, living between two separate homes, often feel that they have to play towards one parent or the other. So, if a kid is having a hard time switching back and forth, maybe you and your co-parent will look at this as a shared issue, and work together to help them. Listen in that way, instead of listening with the assumption that something is wrong with the other parent. It’s so difficult for kids to feel like they’re in the middle of something that might be tense. So to start working with them and keep the focus on your kid and what they’re struggling with — not on what the other parent is or is not doing.
Listen for a solution. Listen to hear what kind of reassurance your kid might be needing, and work together with your co-parent to find a solution.
STRENGTHENING YOUR COUPLE RELATIONSHIP:
If you are trying to strengthen your relationship, it’s so important to listen to your partner.
Your partner might be telling you something over and over again — something that really bothers them — something they want you to change.
Sometimes, when people are talking to us, we are thinking more about we what we are going to say back to them, instead of really listening to what they’re saying to us.
Also, pay attention to your own thoughts when you’re around your partner. Can you be around them and also listen to what is going on inside of you? I’m feeling nervous around you. Check it out — what’s going on with you today? Hearing the thoughts and recognizing when things do come up for you, it’s important to share them. We can get so insulated and insular with our partner.
Do you notice and LISTEN TO what’s going on around you when you’re together?
I see couples on the street, and some of them are in their own world… in a good way. Listening more to each other, rather than what’s going on around them.
And sometimes, people are insular in a negative way — they don’t listen to or notice anything (for example, if a couple is arguing, and not noticing that they’re affecting people around them).
So, take time to listen to yourself, listen to your partner and listen to the balance you might need between the two things.
I look forward to supporting your emotional skills development, in my upcoming newsletters.
If you ever have a suggestion or topic you would like me to address, please don’t hesitate to email me.
I’ll look forward to talking to you again next month, but bye for now!!
Susan is a a licensed therapist in California and a nation-wide online coach.