When we are triggered / annoyed / hurt / activated we have a tendency to react. It’s our natural, very well known way of being. But just imagine what it might be like if we could approach our sensitivities in a different way – a way in which they stand the chance of being heard. A way that results in loving one another and therefore feeling loved, seen and appreciated. Our reactions tell others that they are not heard, instantly. Reactions are also, very often words that can’t be taken back. The way that we react is not our truth of the matter. It is an automatic gut reaction that can be traced directly to our patterns.
So while there is a whole lot of work you can do to understand you and your story, there is a simple, likely foreign, communication process that can help. This process is best received, and with continued effort, will be successful only when both parties are in this – together.
Take Turns. When we sit down to share or check in we agree that one person has the floor, aka the ‘sender’. The sender’s job is to share their point without using “you”. The sender’s job is to explain what they are feeling or experiencing, what it means to them, and maybe even where it comes from.
Let’s call the other party the ‘active listener’. (I get this sounds prescribed … trust that once you learn it, like anything with practice, it will become second nature.) The active listener will have the floor the next time around. Let’s assume the active listener roll. Being the active listener means we have two tasks: to listen and accurately communicate what we hear. The challenge: to hear what is being said. Be present and open eared. Say what you hear back to the sender until the sender lets you know that your understanding is bang on. If the sender communicates that you are off base, take a breath and ask them to share again. If we miss the mark the first few times, it is not about us failing … we speak different languages and we hear from our own perspective. Take a breath together and try again. This cycle needs to continue until the active listener has repeated back to the sender with an understanding of what was shared.
An example would sound something like “So what I am hearing you say is that you (insert what you heard)” Again, this may take a few tries because we hear messages wrapped in our stories. At the end of the day we all need feel heard and when we feel heard, we feel loved and seen. So when the sender responds with “Yes, you’ve got it that’s exactly what I’m saying.” embrace the success. But don’t run away yet …