Listen From Your Heart
by Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
How often do you stop to listen from your heart when you are in a heated dialogue with someone? Are you trying to figure out how you can defend yourself? Do you tune out when someone is talking in order to come up with a response? How many times have you rushed to a response and they just end up getting mad at you?
How many times have you come home after a long day and used your spouse or friend as a sounding board? You didn’t tell them the information because you wanted their help; you simply needed to get something out, you needed to vent. Was the issue about them? No! They were simply the sounding board, the “download”, to allow you to be heard. In turn, how often do others do this same thing to you? Was it about you? No! You have simply acted as a sounding board for them. You weren’t asked to fix, comment, get involved or correct…you were only there in that moment to listen from the heart.
To listen from the heart is to stop our minds from looking for a response, or defending our position, and just listening to what the person is saying. Perhaps they are upset with us or someone else and we simply focus on how what they are saying is affecting us. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, states that we should not take anything personal. We, as humans, are here to learn and grow and more importantly, to help each other. Allowing others to speak their truth, even if it isn’t yours, because, it truly isn’t about you.
If you are the kind of person that is a problem solver, you want to help, even if you haven’t been asked. You want to make the pain go away, give them solution ideas, or tell them what you think is a better way, your way.
When we get involved to the extent that we are giving opinion or insisting they let us help them, even when we haven’t been asked; Our involvement, beyond listening, just seems to come out as judgment or that we don’t think the other person is capable of problem solving and that we somehow know what is best for them.
We have all been guilty of those scenarios where we are taking everything to heart. Yet, “taking it to heart” and “listening from the heart” is not the same thing.
Over the years, by trial and error, and the example of those I respect, I have learned, the best thing I can do for someone else is to be present for them and listen from the heart. If they want my help, they will ask. Think of it this way. It is okay to offer your help, only once we have allowed the person to be heard. Then we must ask the pertinent question “is there anything I can do?” Once we have asked that question, we then follow their lead. You may just be there as a sounding board and the best thing we can do at that point is listen from the heart. If, on the other hand, they want our help, it is important to come from a place of love and respect. You don’t want to just jump in and take over, you ask what it is they need from you and then you follow and support their wishes. We must allow others to walk their own path, we are just there to love and support them.
I believe that we are all here to learn life lessons and when others step in and take over, we do not learn the lesson. What we learn, is that we are incapable of doing something for ourselves and in turn we learn not to trust our own judgment. If we are the ones stepping in on someone else’s opportunity to learn a lesson, in universal terms, we just stepped in and got in the way of someone learning a life lesson; and because they didn’t learn it at that pass, the next time the lesson shows itself to them, it is more difficult and harsh to learn. Allowing others to learn their lessons, without our interference is the most effective way to be of service.
When people speak, they are either coming from a place of fear or love. Fear and love seem to be the motivators in most situations. If they are coming from a place of love, it is out of their love for us that they say the things they do. However, if they are coming from a place of fear, it is out of their fear that they say the things they do. Again, it isn’t about you, it is about them and their life path.
They want to be heard, they want to be seen, they want to be understood, none of which has anything to do with us; Except, that we are there to be the sounding board for them. As a friend, family member or co-worker, when we see that people are coming from fear—it is for the highest good of all that we allow them to speak what they believe to be their truth, at the moment, and as they speak, we stop, breathe, look them in the eye, or if we are on the phone with them, we remove all distractions and truly listen.
We hear the words with our ears, but, if we listen from the heart, we feel the energy/vibration of the person; we realize that they are afraid and they want someone to hear them out, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with us. Perhaps you were the first person they saw or spoke to after a horrible situation with a loved one or co-worker and so you are the one that hears how they felt in that situation. Again, it isn’t about you.
So, how can we listen from the heart when we feel attacked? First and foremost, remember, it isn’t really about you at all, even if it is being directed toward you, on the surface. It is all about them and their need to be heard, to be seen and to be understood. Take a moment, breathe deep within your belly, into your heart, and see this person in front of you as an 8 year old child. You wouldn’t defend yourself; you would not speak over them or interrupt a child. You would stop and listen. You would look them in the eyes; you would send them love, as you can see they are struggling and hurt. This act of tuning into the emotion/vibration of this person and being open to hear them, yet not being there to correct them or make what they are saying about you, is for the good of all concerned.
In talking to the 18-20 year old group, I have learned that they just want to be heard. They want to know that they can speak and be heard and that we aren’t judging them. They simply want to get out what they have to say, without input; just listening from the heart. They don’t want your opinion; they don’t want you to tell them what to do or how to do it, they just need to get something out. What many have said, “Once I say it out loud, I feel better, and I can better deal with the information and then move on.” In this group in particular, they are just learning how to be a grown up. They are being faced with decisions they have never had to make for themselves, they are learning and finding their way. When they are able to work through their issues, on their own, the lessons are learned and they have a higher opinion of themselves and their ability to problem solve within their own lives.
I believe we are all in the same boat, no matter our age or life experience. We are all trying to find our way, learn our lessons, and be the best people that we can be. We seek to be self-sufficient, to be responsible, to be respected and most of all to be seen and heard by those in our lives.
So, the next time you are in a situation where someone is upset, open up your heart, see their 8 year old self standing before you, and know that they are there out of love or fear. Either way, you can be of the most help, when you allow them to speak their truth, to support them on their journey--embrace that they loved and trusted you enough to allow you to hear them, to see them. Send them love and light, listen from your heart, and remember, it really isn’t about you, at all.
Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
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