It’s only natural to not want to make waves. Even when we get our feelings hurt we sometimes stay silent. I cannot count the times that clients have shared with me that the best thing that they get out of therapy is the simple aspect of just being able to talk and get things out. It seems odd, when we think about it that we go to a stranger to tell our problems to instead of talking to the ones that we love. It may seem odd, but it is a common occurrence. Here’s the deal, I think the reason that we find it easier to talk to a therapist is that we know that they will listen. I mean, they’re trained to and paid to, right? That’s the struggle that we often face. The people in our lives that we say we are closest to may not actually be really listening to us. You can tell when someone is not really listening to you, right? If you really zoom in on the conversation your having. I mean focus, pay attention, be mindful of what is happening in your presence, in that moment, in that conversation. You will discover that you can really tell if they are really listening to you or not.
So, what do you do when someone is not really listening to you? Sometimes I let out a buzzer sound mid-sentence and then continue talking like nothing happened. You know, like the buzzer at a basketball game. That awful horn that they buzz will really get your attention. But really, what do you do when someone is not listening to you? Well, there are lots of different techniques that you can use, but for now let’s just focus on one. It may not be your favorite answer, but it has been tested true time and again. If you want someone to really listen to you then start really listening to the people in your life that are talking to you. In John Gottmans’ book “The Relationship Cure” he calls it the law of Sowing and Reaping. What you sow into your life you will reap or receive back. When you set your mind to truly hearing and understanding what someone is saying it is only natural for them to listen to you when you do finally speak.
Often we have a tendency of thinking about what we are going to say when someone is speaking to us. It falls into the same camp of being defensive and making sure that we are being heard. Instead, what would it look like to just be present when someone is speaking? In Brennan Mannings book, “Ruthless Trust” he calls it finding your “nowhere”. This word can be broken down two different ways. No/Were or Now/Here. What would it look like to simply be in the here and now, the present moment, fully aware of what is happening in your presence? Weather we are in our own presence, God’s presence or in the presence of others it is profitable and rewarding to simply “Be”. Be in the moment, allow yourself to relax in the ubiquitous company of your surroundings. You may discover that really listening will help others listen to you when you need to be heard.