It can be difficult to listen to someone express dissatisfaction with an open mind.
Instead of receiving the comments as a reflection of someone else’s feelings, we insert ourselves into the mix, imbuing their comments with accusation and expectation and responding with defensiveness.
We often intrinsically know whether we feel listened to and understood, ignored, dismissed, or misunderstood by another person. But how often do we intentionally think about our capacity to listen in relationships – whether that’s work, family, romantic, social, or spiritual – and how often do we reflect on the connection between our early family experiences and how they taught us to listen (or not)? Here are a few questions to help you explore how you have learned to listen (and what you expect from other listeners).