So I did not expect the person I had listened to chose a completely different path.
I thought I understood what she said. To my surprise my conversation partner didn’t do what she said she was going to do.
I thought I helped. My advise wasn’t used at all.
What stood in my way to be able to really listen was… me. I was the disturbing factor.
During the conversation I allowed my own agenda and experience pop up.
I also allowed environmental disturbances interfere with my listening attention.
And I just didn’t know how it felt to really listen, to listen… beyond myself.
To be able to listen beyond yourself:
#1) The only intention you take to the conversation is to understand. No matter what. True willingness to understand. No simultaneous verification with other stories, no other agenda. Just being there for people to understand what’s going on for them.
#2) Wipe out everything you are, were and will be (doing) now. Wipe out what you think, saw, experienced and know for the moment. You are listening beyond yourself when no judgment, defense, aggression, advise, action mode, ‘I don’t care attitude’ or pity shows up in you.
However, some feelings will show up. Like confusion or the feeling you don’t get it completely. Feelings like these are fine. They signal you are truly listening beyond yourself! When confusion pops up, that’s a moment to jump in and ask some questions until you do understand (again).
Be there, 100%. No judgment, own experience or other personal reactions in between. Just be there, listening beyond yourself and, where necessary, summarising and questioning until you do understand.
#3) To discover what it feels like to listen beyond yourself, start giving this gift to people you care for.
Once you know how it feels to listen beyond yourself, you will immediately recognize the difference between ‘listening’ and ‘listening beyond yourself’. While the person listened to, will (unconsciously) recognize the difference of you being IN the conversation a 100% for him or her.
By listening beyond yourself you don’t attract or take over any (other people’s) problems. Instead you are creating space for people to calmly see what’s exactly going on and to discover if there is anything he or she would like to act upon.
When you manage to listen beyond yourself more often, you will notice appreciation from people like ‘thx 💐’ or (listening) support for the things you do.