I want you to help me. Before we get into the detail, here is a little background.
Two years ago after I miscarried, I started seeing a therapist. Miscarriage and lots of other health issues had put a toll on my mental health. I wanted to know when would it end. Ha!I wish future was readable! I remember, those nights were scary and those days were gloomy.
Every day I would talk to my husband, I would try to express a little to him. I was afraid.
What if he is in pain too?
What if he too is emotionally shaken up?
Family doctor referred me to a psychiatrist. I went to her with a hope that there would be some magic. It wasn’t a magic, but it felt different. I remember, she uttered only few lines during our conversation, and allowed me to speak up. I had a wider variety of emotions piled up. There was anger, frustration, helplessness, anxiety and an unsuccessful attempt to run away from what I was facing. But then, you can’t run away from life! Though I couldn’t continued going to her sessions, she had been a great help. And if you ask me what did she do, she just ‘Listened‘: Without sympathy, without judgement, without any assumption, she listened to me attentively.
And I felt like a part of me healed..
A part of me which was broken up in pieces due to the drama happening in my life. With time, I understood the importance of being a good listener. Husband has always been a great support to me with his amazing listening skills. We talk a lot now about our emotions, insecurities, feelings.
In between those conversation, I sometimes jump in to say something. I know that it’s wrong, but it somehow happens. Sometimes it makes me wonder, we have spent years writing and reading, but did we ever learn that we should be effective listener too? How can we learn not to listen to answer, but listen to understand?
Empathetic listening is something we all should learn, but we never thought of doing so. With the growing amount of media influence we have on our mind (remember Arnab Goswami’s debade?), we somehow love to interrupt someone in between, and jump in with our thought process. While it can make us a good debater, will it make us a good human being?
Stephen Coven has written in his book ‘The 7 effects of highly effective people‘ that a better way to show someone that you love them and care for them is by listening to them. You may say that you care about and appreciate me. I desperately want to believe that. But how can you appreciate me when you don’t even understand me? All I have is your words, and I can’t trust words!
Listening is an art we develop over time.
So, here is the thing: I have been trying to be a good listener for the last couple of days, but out of 20 conversations I have with my husband, 25 happen when I am unconscious. Struggling to learn this art over few weeks I have understood that it won’t work by just reminding myself once in the morning. There has to be constant nagging from someone. So, I here is something I will do for the next 30 days, and I invite you to join me in learning this art.