As a homeopath, one of the things I have learned to do best is listen. When I listen, I really listen. Listening in-between the lines, to the silence between the words. I focus on what someone is saying—– and not saying. How are they saying it is just as important. Is there energy behind the words, or is it flat?
Listening takes energy. It takes a lot of concentration, to be fully present, in the moment, focused. Paying attention 100%. And, it is more than just using the ears. Active listening uses ears, and eyes. Body language. A twitch of the eyebrow with a statement, a sudden crossing of the arms, a cough, rubbing the nose give clues as to what is going on behind the words being spoken. This is difficult to hide, it just comes out naturally, like using our hands when we speak. Paying attention can give huge clues to what is really being said, or not said, or how they feel about what they are saying.
Many people are never really listened to. The moment they speak, the other person is already thinking, analyzing, judging, and wanting to tell them how to fix the problem, what to do about it, how they feel about it, etc. They are thinking about how they feel now. Then the speaker quits talking. Or they keep talking but are not speaking their “truth”. They are being judged, and they know it, they feel it, they see it. No one wants to show their faults, and imperfections for fear of being judged.
True listening is in itself sometimes very healing. To be “heard” and not judged, not criticized, not manipulated, and not evaluated is rare, and one of the most precious gifts you can give someone. With real listening comes trust. And, with that trust comes the freedom to say anything, and still feel safe.
Never being heard, or the fear of being able to speak our thoughts and feelings inside causes a sort of loneliness. We are alone with our true feelings, and maybe we cannot even share our deepest thoughts with our partner for fear of rejection, isolation, or judgement. And maybe for good reason. The relationship may end or change in an undesirable way. What often happens is that it may bring up old issues in the listener, it pushes their buttons. The worst is when they can’t help but interrupt and give you advice, from their perspective. They’ve already stopped listening to you, and are listening to themselves.
True listening can be healing, and make bonds stronger, not weaker. Listening is an active, not a passive process. It requires the beauty of one soul to see the beauty of another soul behind the words being spoken. And sometimes just being present, fully attentive, in the here and now is helpful to someone who just “needs an ear.”