When we fully listen to someone, we often feel present, interested, curious and open, and relieved that we don’t have to say or solve anything. It brings a sense of freedom, connection and companionship. It is also an act of kindness and generosity to give some listening time to someone.
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If you are someone who tends to talk more than to listen, you may want to train the listening muscle a little. You can practice anywhere: at home with your partner and/or children, with your parents, at work with your colleagues, in your social life with your friends or with a stranger at the bus stop or on the train.
Just 10 minutes of our time and attention can make a huge difference to someone and to us. It’s a win-win situation.
When you choose to genuinely listen to someone:
Make an intention to listen fully, i.e. let go of your own agenda and what you want to say.
Relax into yourself: feel your feet on the floor, take a few deeper breaths.
Pay full attention to the other person – really look at them (this doesn’t mean staring at them (!)), just be aware of them without judgement.
Now listen – listen intently what they want to say. When they stop talking, just wait, stay present and keep them company in the silence for it is in the silence that new thoughts, ideas and ways forward emerge.
Notice what it feels like to listen in this way; notice what it’s feels like for the other person.
And most importantly, enjoy the experience.