3 Steps to Better Listening
How to Become a Better Lover Through Empathetic Listening
I was guiding one of my clients in a tantra session and they shared that they felt unseen and unheard by their partner from a previous talk they had. Internally I was totally thinking “Ugh, been there.”
It reminded me that not feeling seen or understood is such a common struggle in relationships. Usually, it’s one person feeling that way and the other not even considering it. It’s okay, this is totally common and normal.
I am sharing this today for both individuals of this scenario and to offer what you can do about it.
Have you ever been in a position where you share how you are feeling to your partner (or maybe you are often the partner on the receiving end of these conversations), because:
A. You are feeling so much and want them to know because it is too much to hold alone?
B. You are desiring to be validated and seen?
C. They did something unconsciously to trigger you and you wanted to share that so you can feel safe to speak your truth and keep growing together in those off moments?
AND instead of the “wow love, it sounds like you are experiencing a lot of emotions right now, is there anything you need? How can I support you?” or “oh, I am sorry I made you feel that way, that was not my intention, I actually meant …..”
You get something like this……….
“What did I do wrong, I feel like things are never good enough for you” or
“I didn’t mean that, why do you always take what I do to mean something bad”
Then, a disappointment bomb dropped all over your heart and body and you either,
A. Shut down and wish you never said anything or
B. Apologize as if you did something wrong for having feelings
Oh yes, that space, I know all about it and it hurts. For both individuals.
The one sharing feels unheard, unseen, and unsupported and the receiver feels confused, angry, and defensive.
Which then makes the whole point missed. The opportunity to see our partner with love and acceptance in their most vulnerable state.
This can create a great divide between couples and a feeling of “they don’t understand me” or “I don’t understand them”.
It hurts and neither means any harm, often are both reacting from a place of trauma or past hurt, small or big. (This is all considering the relationship is healthy and with love to begin with).
This doesn’t have to be the way….there are sooo many tools to become a better listener, communicator, and lover.
I am going to teach you 3 easy and powerful things to do to become a better listener
Now, it is important to first recognize that we aren’t taught these things growing up (except for the small few that had pretty epic empowered communication parents and communities growing up). Soooo….it is up to us to choose to learn and grow. To become better in areas we have weaknesses, to stay humble and accept our blind spots, to admit, learn, and grow.
This topic can be an area of trigger for many people, I get it, miscommunication is one of the biggest causes for couples to fight. I invite you to take relaxing breaths in and out of your heart with me as you flow through these words and invitations.
Listen with your full presence, as if you are listening from your full body.
A beautiful trick to this is to fully look your partner in the eye when they are sharing with you, breath in and out of your heart as you receive, and relax and open your heart center. This will allow your partner to feel safe, trust that you are present with them, and it shows them that they are loved even in the difficult moments (because even if you think they are out to get you, they probably aren’t because they love you and also it’s probably scary for them to share what they are sharing).
When your partner is done speaking, take a breath before speaking. Thank them for sharing. Mirror back to them what you heard in a form similar to this:
“I hear that you are feeling upset that I didn’t call you after work today”.
See, what you are doing here is letting your partner know that you heard what they said by repeating it back to them in a conscious way (please don’t just repeat back word for word and think you have done it, that will piss them off too). Pick a few key points that you understand to be why they are upset and share it in the format “I hear that……” or “It sounds like you are …..”
“I can understand why that would feel upsetting to you.”
Adding that you understand why they would feel that way is showing that their feelings are real (instead of devaluing them by trying to explain why they shouldn’t be upset or trying to immediately stand up for yourself). Because the thing is, no matter whether you did something “wrong” or not isn’t the point, the point is that your partner is experiencing emotions and wants to be seen in them.
Often people can see empathic listening as a sign of weakness, yet in my reality, empathic listening is the sexiest thing and seen as a strength! It allows for more flow in conversations, deeper connections, love, and more pleasure!
It is a myth that we should be in defense mode and protect ourselves from ever showing vulnerability. Again, this often comes from past trauma and is totally normal. If you are able to soften those walls for a moment and let go of the idea that it is about you, a window opens to truly see your partner in their hurt. This can lead to a deeper soul connection and understanding.
There will always be room to share your truth afterward.
By simply asking
“Would you be open to hearing where I am coming from?” or “I would love to share with you what is coming up for me if you are open to hearing”
Also, you can get creative with it, make it your own, find your voice within these tools. They are merely a framework that has shown to be powerful and healing for me and my clients when I coach. Feel your humanness, your messy is still welcome here, these are simply other tools to add to your couple bubble. Try it out, see if it resonates, no matter what, be yourself. The tools can only go so far, being authentic and genuinely compassionate is what is going to bring them home.
So remember, in those moments when you want to react to something, get defensive or take things personally, there is a vulnerable heart on the other end that is most likely looking to be seen, heard, and validated in your relationship container.
The more these can be practiced and integrated into a partnership the more flow you will find in those moments of constriction.
In most cases when your partner is feeling safe, seen, and supported, there is more room in their heart to stay open to love, pleasure, play, and turn on. It’s a win, win!
It might not be easy……Good, let it be uncomfortable! Get nice and cozy with the uncomfortable, because that is where you will grow and find beautiful new landscapes to play in inside your relationship bubble.
Let the bubble expand to new depths.
I call it growing pains, a necessary part of life :)
Alright my loves,
I hope you find this to be supportive of your more difficult conversations and create new depths for you and your partner. I would love to hear how the next difficult talk goes or if these 3 steps serve you well.
If you and your partner want to learn more ways to grow, learn, and deepen your relationship you can message me to learn about my couples' tantra coaching or check me out @tareaselixir on IG and FB.