Colleen Koncilja, LCSW, CADC, ICGC-II, BACC View Entire Blog

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Have you ever been in a conversation when someone was talking with another person and the person who was supposed to be listening to them, totally misinterpreted what the person was saying and confusion, anger, and hurt feelings resulted? This often happens between two partners when they have a lot of stress in their relationship. When this miscommunication happens they each may feel misunderstood, frustrated, unsupported, or defensive.

I see this often with couples who I counsel in my practice. Often their communication has been compromised with conflict, hurt feelings, fear, and insecurities and they do not and cannot hear what their partner is saying to them. Often, instead, they hear old stuff, they hear criticism, they hear rejection, they hear assumptions, they hear feelings they project, and most unfortunately they don't hear what is actually being said.

True listening is actually a difficult skill to master. We tend to think that listening is easy. I challenge you to think about when you are conversing with another person, how often you spend thinking about what you are going to say back, or, what you want to ask the other person, before they are even close to finishing what they are saying? Sometimes we listen really well, when the subject being discussed has nothing to do with us and we don't have much of an emotional charge about it. But when we do have an emotional charge about what is being talked about and it has something to do with us, it is easy to not hear a big part of what the other person is saying to us. We often jump to explanations and defensiveness, instead of listening and validating the thoughts and feelings of the person who is talking with us.

Sometimes we don't hear what they other person says, because we don't like what they are saying or we honestly don't want to hear it.
If we really hear wholeheartedly what they were communicating to us,

we may have to do something that is difficult
we may possibly feel some uncomfortable feelings
we may need to take responsibility for something we did that hurt the other person

These are just a few examples of what makes it difficult to stop talking and really listen.

We all need people to listen to us. We all need people to support us. How well do you hear and how well do you listen to others? What could you do to improve? It is something to think about....to ponder...to work on improving. Being heard is so important. It is a gift you can give to others. It is a gift I try to give to someone everyday.

Supporting You on Your Healing Quest