Ok so maybe I’m not the best one to be talking to you about listening. Sometimes I’m not very great at it at all.
But I do listen when it’s important. And I don’t just listen with my ears. I listen with my heart.
We need to learn how to connect, and understand each other more. We’re all going through tough stuff. Yep every single one of us. But we often don’t share it, because we haven’t been really listened to in the past.
Learning how to become an excellent and compassionate listener WILL change the quality of your relationships. And if I can learn how to communicate and fall in love with a sea lion 🦭 [watch the video] then you can learn how to listen and communicate with your heart too!
Love 🐾 #YourHappyCoach, Fenix xoxo
Compassionate Listening for Connection & Healing: A Science-Backed Strategy for Healthy Relationships
Listening is one of the greatest gifts we have for the relationships in our life, but also for ourselves, if we truly want greater connection and happiness in our life.
So what does it take to truly listen to another?
- being present,
- letting go of thinking about what you will respond or reply, and
- allowing yourself to feel and experience what the other person is sharing.
And that’s more easily said than done. Right?
But today we have a radical approach Dr. Zoë Lumiere calls ‘Compassionate Listening’ that powerfully and practically helps you listen without being in your head about it. It’s actually really simple.
Compassionate Listening is having the courage to let go of your perspectives, points of views and your own experiences, and in some radical way, you leave your own Universe, and you walk into the Universe of the person you’re listening to.
The essence of this approach is to EXPERIENCE what the other person is sharing. It’s putting on their shoes, and listening in a way that gives you the experience of what it’s like to walk as them.
And so Yes! This is Courageous and Vulnerable! We humans LOVE feeling in control. We like being prepared for what’s next. And so we don’t like to let go of our own points of view and our own responses. It takes real guts to let go of your perception of the situation to truly endeavor to understand someone else’s.
Listening is something that we need to practice, not take for granted.
And we can start by practicing with those we love the most.
The next time you’re spending time with a loved one, have just one, single intention: How can I listen to this person, so that I truly understand and experience what they are saying?
It’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable, and the more we do it the more we experience the kind of connection and happiness we’re all craving in life.
References     
 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). The psychology of gratitude (Series in affective science). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
 Zahn, R., Moll, J., Krueger, F., Huey, E. D., Garrido, G., & Grafman, J. (2007). Social concepts are represented in the superior anterior temporal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(15), 6430-6435.
 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.
 Zahn, R., Moll, J., Iyengar, V., Huey, E. D., Tierney, M., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2009). Social conceptual impairments in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with right anterior temporal hypometabolism. Brain, 132(3), 604-616.
 Burton, L. R. (2020). The Neuroscience and positive impact of gratitude in the workplace. American Association for Physician Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.physicianleaders.org/news/the-neuroscience-and-positive-impact-of-gratitude-in-the-workplace
Compassionate Listening: A Step-by-Step Guide for Conversations
Use this step-by-step guide to help you learn how to listen actively and compassionately. It will feel a little stiff at first, but it will help you learn the underlying principles required for true connection and understanding.
- Each set a clear intention for listening. [This time is NOT about reconciliation, decision-making, or making changes in any way. This time is simply about listening for understanding]. For example: It’s my intention to do my best to listen to you. Or: It’s my intention to let go of my own perspective, to truly listen to and understand your perspective.
- Someone must first be the sharer, and the other person will listen first. As the sharer, choose one of the following prompts, and do your best to share your own experience and feelings: A – I really want you to know and understand that … B – I’ve been really challenged about this recently ... C – I have to get this off my chest …
- As the listener, it’s now your opportunity to let go of thinking about responding – rather in each and every moment: listen deeply to the sharer so that you understand what they are sharing. The listener remains silent until the sharer is no longer talking (which can be hard – but you can do it!) It’s your job to truly walk into their world so fully, that you can see, sense and feel what they are sharing. Challenge yourself to compassionately experience what they’re talking about. Let go of your points of view and be open to experiencing exactly what they’re sharing.
- Once the sharer has stopped talking for a few moments, it’s now the listener’s opportunity to share what they just heard. It’s now your job to share what you heard – to see if you truly did hear and understand what the sharer was trying to communicate. Do your best to Share The Experience your partner said.
- As the sharer, once you feel truly understood by the listener, let them know that you do feel understood and heard. If however at first you don’t feel understood, kindly and compassionately clarify yourself. Help them truly experience what it is you’re trying to say. Once you do feel understood, thank them for taking the time to truly listen and to understand.
- Swap Roles! If you were the sharer – you are now the listener. And vice versa. Repeat questions 2 through 5 in alternate roles.
That’s it! It might not result in a disney moment to begin with. But with practice, your ability to listen and truly understand your loved ones and others in your world will result in greater connection and happiness.
From Dr. Zoë
This one skill changed my life.
I learned it doing a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. And I have used it every day since.
We all want to be understood. We all want our loved ones to know how we’re feeling, to understand what we’re going through. The highs and the lows! But we often hold back because in the past we haven’t felt understood, respected and honored.
When I first started to let go of being right, and just waiting to respond, miracle and magic started happening.
I could actually find agreement and common experience and kindness so much more easily. And my relationships began to improve.
It blew me away when I began to be aware how much I cared about being right!
When I started to care less about being RIGHT, to care much more about being LOVING… things just shifted. Conflicts resolved. Rifts disappeared. Projects moved forward. I felt heard and connected.
Let me know how this goes for you. It won’t happen over night. But I know that if you truly start to listen actively and with the focus of compassion and kindness, you’ll be surprised too.