active listening

More than ever I am challenged when it comes to actively listening to someone, especially loved ones like Daniel. I am better at it in the professional world, but would like to work on it in my personal life. For example, when Daniel comes home from work, I am usually doing a task, busy on the computer, or thinking about something. He’ll walk through the door, I’ll look up, we say hello and smile, give each other a quick kiss, and then one of us will begin talking (usually non-stop about a “priority” topic). Kudos to Daniel, I believe he is a better active listener than I am. Whereas for me, when he is speaking, I admit (and he calls me out on it) that I am not fully listening to him. The truth is, I would love to, but all these other “barriers” (as mentioned earlier) are in my way! So what happens is I pick up pieces of what he’s saying, respond as best I can, and call it a conversation. My challenge about active listening is that I actually have to be listening! This includes 110% listening; 110% attention; eye contact; facial expressions; and periodic meaningful responses (paraphrasing; re-stating, feedback, etc.). This is very hard to do (as you can imagine) when I am distracted or am preparing for a response before he’s completed his thought. I know what to do and just need to do it given that it’s not healthy for our marriage if he does not feel heard or respected when he is sharing his thoughts and feelings.

What are your challenges and/or tips to active listening?

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About Reaksmey

hi :) i'm reaksmey (reeks-may) and I love to think, reflect, and grow. do you? my life includes a handsome husband and a lively infant. here's where i write about how i grow through life's ups and downs so that i can humbly encourage you daily.
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2 Responses to active listening

  1. Cindi says:

    Dear Reaksmey…I am guilty of this too. Hate to be the messenger of bad news, but when you have little ones it gets worse! Daniel is mature and competent enough at communicating to be able to call you out (which I’m sure he does :)) when you are focusing on the multi part of multi-tasking! Little ones simply scream and throw at fit (maybe Daniel does too?!) to get your attention – which usually is an angry response instead of a patient “yes honey, what were you trying to tell me”. Can you tell I’m talking from experience! Some personalities don’t have a problem with inactive listening type conversations. Others do and make it very clear they demand your entire attention. So my advise for little people and big ones, is to engage physically when you are actively listening. Get down to their level (or sit so you are at the same level :), and make an effort to physically connect – hold hands, turn to face them, whatever makes you physically connect with them. That will maybe help bridge the gap between their mouth and your ears. I do this with my little one and when I kneel down and hold her hands it forces both of us to calm down, focus, and connect. Keep on blogging Dear Reaksmey – you brighten my day :)

    Reaksmey Reply:

    Thanks for your suggestion; I never thought of that. I still am working on the active listening… I am a smidge better. I did use your suggestion a few times without telling Daniel what I was doing. I believe it worked, but my former habits start taking over shortly afterwards. I look forward to trying again and also using it with our little one.

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