Spirit gave you two ears and one mouth so you can speak half as much as you listen.
~ Navajo Proverb
Recently I saw Lisa Garr interview Richard Moss, author of the book “The I That Is We” that inspired me years ago. During the conversation, they touched on the importance of listening skills for deepening intimate relationships, which caused me to reflect on my own listening ability.
I have long believed that the greatest gift you can give another is to listen, really listen, to whatever they need to express.
The basic human need to be heard was easy for me to value because, with my Gemini Moon, the best way for me to process my emotions is by expressing what I am feeling verbally to someone. Or, failing that, to express myself by writing in my journal.
As an astrological consultant, my greatest asset (next to having strong astrological knowledge) is my listening skill. Why, then, have I felt challenged in the past with deep listening in my intimate relationships?
There is no better person in your life to project your emotional issues onto than your partner. He or she serves as a mirror for your own unhealed issues. Sometimes when hearing your partner speak it triggers emotions that cloud out the ability to really listen to what he or she is saying.
Let me suggest two important skills I have found that will help you deepen your ability to listen and improve your relationships.
- Listen until your partner finishes speaking. In fact, take a breath after he or she finishes. This will ensure your partner has expressed all he or she wishes to before you respond.
- While your partner speaks, refrain from judging what he or she is saying, deciding whether you agree or disagree, and planning your response.
If you can set yourself (your reactions and emotions) aside and really listen to what your partner is saying, there will still be time to formulate your response during the breath you take after he or she has finished.
Our relationships are important. The need to be loved and heard is strong in each of us. However, as the Navajo proverb states (above), we would do well to listen twice as much as we speak.
How might your relationships improve if you give the gift of deeply listening when your partner or others speak?