His eyes were what caught her attention. Though a stranger, those eyes told a story that made her pause and look again. They said, “I’m listening.” She met him at work when he came to fix her computer. It seemed as though he was hearing more than her system problems. The questions he asked and the way he waited for her answers brought to her a sense of genuinely caring about what she was going to say next. Amazingly, that never changed as they continued to get to know each other and fell in love. It was simply a part of how he loved.
James Nathan Miller said, “There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.”
Have you ever been asked, “What do you want – no, really, what do you want?” It happens most times in the beginning of romance. The magic stage is still there and we are smitten with this other person. We listen. And we ask questions. She responds and we ask more. We want to know who she is, who he is.
Sadly, this may only last for a short time depending on how desperate we are for love. If there is electric physical attraction, as soon as we hop into bed with that person, the real listening and intent curiosity can end. Fear steps in and we begin to hear what we want to hear in hope that this could truly be “the one”. We push who we want to be instead of being ourselves. And when we listen, we listen with our response in mind, not ears that want to know what our partner is really saying. Our hearts are afraid that this person, too, will abandon us.
Under the surface both of us are telling ourselves in one way or another, “I am not enough so, if you really know who I am, you won’t love me.” Out comes our Pretender, our best side, the person we think the other person wants us to be. And so begins the game that leads us into brokenness. It’s exhausting. And you can only pretend to be who you are for so long.
It’s about the heart.
Ultimately, we want someone to know us, really know us, and not run.
We want to be seen.
We want the person we really are to be valued.
We want to be able to relax into the arms of someone else knowing they know us and love us anyway.
“Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a friend; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” George Eliot
Ok, all of you with broken hearts (even you who are entrenched in a relationship) – how do get from fearful pretending to being with someone that blows the chaff away with kindness and loves us through it all?
1. Become the person you want your partner to be. Become a strong single. Know yourself, become really confident that you are worth loving. If you don’t even know how to get out of the fog to start this, contact me at www.hopesourcelifecoaching.ca and I will help you! You can do this!
2. Start learning to listen – with everyone, anyone. The clerk at the till in the grocery store, your child, your parent, your friend….. listen for their heart and stop thinking about what you want to say back.
3. Picture a bridge – your heart on one side, the heart of the person you are talking to on the other. When you are having a conversation with that person, step out of your own thoughts and cross over that bridge into that heart. Now just be there and feel what they are feeling. See beyond their words and try to look out of their eyes. Yes, it’s tough at first but you are better at it than you think if you stop being threatened by the conversation and stop focusing on yourself.
4. Practice repeating back to them what you think you heard and be sure to stop them every few sentences and ask them if you are getting it right. Feel what the other person is feeling and seeing.
5. Before you jump back to your own side of the bridge, stay there for a bit longer and ask, “What can I do?” “How can I be there for you?” You will blow that person away!!
It makes an amazing difference. Think how having a conversation like that would make you feel! And the wonderful thing is, if that person is at capable, their defenses will come down and they will start to respond to you in the same way.
But go into this without any expectations. You will have an entirely new, warm feeling inside. Where does that come from? Its source is unselfish giving because, in those moments, you are giving to someone else without expecting anything back. That’s meeting one of the needs of your spirit – the need to contribute and it makes your spirit flourish.
Yes, this is just a start toward learning what makes a relationship grow but it’s a step. One step in a journey of a thousand but at least it’s a step. And you can start doing it right now, today, with or without a lover to practice on.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Become someone who really listens and you will learn to make love with your ears.
Hang in there with me – keep walking. Live with strength!