(Empathetic Listening for deeper emotional connection)
Deeper emotional connection & intimacy will come when your partner feels heard. So today is all about learning to listen better.
A good rule of thumb: Seek first to understand before being understood
Empathic listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding, trust and heartfelt connection.
I am not referring to the techniques of “active” listening or “reflective” listening, which basically involve mimicking what another person says. That kind of listening is skill-based, disjointed from relationships, and often insults those “listened” to in such a way. It comes from a “you-centered” position.
When I say empathic listening, I mean listening with intent to understand. I mean seeking first to understand, to really understand. It’s an entirely different paradigm. Empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel and that is when real connection occurs. That is when Joel tells me he feels heard and not before that.
In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you feel and you connect.
- seek to understand your partner’s idea
- then offer the idea back to your partner, to confirm the idea has been understood correctly
- Take note of your partner’s body language, tone, energy with your eyes
- Reassure them you are seeking to understand, not answer, fix or defend
- When you think you have really heard, ask them if this is what they mean? and feel? If no, keep going.
- If yes, express appreciation and your compassionate understanding
- When they are heard, you will both feel the shift in the tension & the energy.
True connection, a more meaningful bond & deeper intimacy is the often the result
Always helps me to remember:
People don’t car how much you know until they know how much you care and people feel genuinely cared about when they are heard.