Listening to others teaches me about myself

Last Saturday of the month check in time! 

I have been focusing on LISTENING this year, and I promised to keep you updated on what that is accomplishing. When I started this year with that as my word I was mainly thinking of listening to my Husband better because I tend to assume a lot and run with my assumptions which was causing a lot of misunderstanding and arguments. Since I have been putting it into action I have noticed just how many areas it applies to. I had known I wanted to apply it to not just my husband, but my sons, my friends, and my clients as well, and of course to listening to God better, however, I somehow didn’t see just how far reaching it would be.

I have found myself listening in different ways than just in hearing peoples words and being quiet while they talk. Because I am quiet and focused on others I am listening to the mood in the room, the heart behind the words and the needs that they can’t seem to articulate themselves. I am hearing my families heart. I am hearing God’s purposes, not just for me, but for those I am to serve.

Listening without defensiveness

Listening without defensiveness has helped me to grow so much already, and learn about myself and it’s still just the first month of the year. I am becoming more confident in myself and in how my family perceives me. I can see what they see in me, both good and bad, and am able to interact with them better because of it. I am able to change how I respond so that they can hear my intentions rather than my assumptive reactions and it makes me better able to appreciate the things
they love about me too..

Since my focus was origionally on listening to my husband, I will tell you about how that has gone so far. We have had far fewer arguments, and not just because I don’t say anything and make it so there is nothing to disagree with. We have actually been able to have discussions, even about things like child discipline and finances, without it getting big and hurtful. Why? because my husband knows that I am hearing him, and taking in what he says not just building up my case while he talks.
And the changes began so quickly too.

Within the first week of my intentionally being quiet so as to listen better, I noticed a marked difference in how interactions with my husband went. Arguments were much more easily avoided simply because I chose to listen more than speak. Instead of giving advise (unasked for) I simply listen and acknowledge his feelings and opinions. My husband was given the time he needed to process in his own way what was being said, and fully express his conclusions, instead of  having to try to figure out and deal with my false assumptions before he could even fully form his thoughts.

 I am more able to even disagree with him on things because I am able to repeat his case back to him, and make it clear where I agree first. I am learning what words are triggers for him and make him feel like I am just telling him he is wrong and condemning him. That means I can choose clearer words so that he can hear what I am intending better. Previously I would have simply told him
 “you are hearing that wrong”. Well, when he is hearing me tell him he is wrong about something, then I tell him he heard THAT wrong, I am just making the problem worse. Now, I change how I say it instead of expecting him to change how he hears me. It’s much easier to rephrase something than it is to convince someone else that you “didn’t mean it that way”. Changing over to “I must have said that wrong” makes a world of difference to a spouse or child who already feels like they can’t do anything right.

We have had many a discussion lately that has gone suprisingly well and I am so glad I chose LISTEN as my word to focus on for this year. I love the growing connections because of this one change that I made, not just with my husband,
 but with the entire family.

 I feel heard myself because I have heard them. 

We still have times that we fall into our old patterns, and I don’t think they fully see the differences yet. I haven’t told them what I am doing, I am simply doing it. I am changing my behavior so that I can be a better wife, mother and business owner. I have noticed, whether they have or not, that because I have demonstrated that I am truly listening to my family and what they are trying to convey, they are now more able and willing to hear my side. It doesn’t feel so much like a competition for who is right or who can win this fight. Now it is more often true communication, connection, and caring for one another’s thoughts, opinions, and feelings.

How is your Word or goal working for you this year? Tell me your stories! 


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