We all want to be heard, understood and supported.
Sometimes, the best healing medicine you can give someone is being fully present and listening with an open heart. It’s a gift that too few of us give or receive. And yet, it is incredibly powerful and can have greater impact than you can imagine.
While it sounds easy, being fully present and listening takes practice. Here are some tips to help you:
- Begin by taking a few deep breaths and centering yourself in your heart energy.
- Listen with love. Set the intention that you listen and share loving and understanding energy with the other person.
- Give the other person your full attention. Remove/turn off anything that might distract you.
- Focus on listening. Don’t spend the time thinking about the next thing you are going to say. In fact, not saying anything beyond acknowledging what the other person is saying may be the best response.
- Ask clarifying questions. Words can be interpreted in many ways. Repeat back what the person says and ask if you don’t understand something. Make sure that you truly understand what the other person is saying.
- Don’t underestimate the impact a simple touch — a hug, pat on the arm, or holding hands — can have on helping someone feel as if they are listened to and cared about
- Listen without judgment or blame. Each one of us responds to life situations differently. The person you are listening to is dealing with the life situation in a way that best suits him or her. While you might do things differently, respect that he or she is doing what s/he thinks is best.
- If the person you are listening to asks for advice, make suggestions rather than telling. Share how you responded to a similar situation or even brainstorm different ways. But, in the end, let the other person choose.
How do you listen with an open heart?
Originally published on Medium by Jennifer Monahan.