Conscious listening requires us to move toward difficult feelings, rather than try to stop them or run away from them. It has two primary aspects:
- Listen to others with an open mind and heart. This does not mean wishing the other person would hurry up and make their point so we can make ours and put the whole thing to bed. It means opening ourselves up so much that the other person can feel the intensity of our care, and willingly steps into that caring place with us.
- Listen to yourself. You might be thinking, how do I listen to myself and the other at the same time? By listen, we mean notice what’s happening inside you and allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up. This creates internal space, which means we’re less apt to say or do something unconscious, and more apt to take a step toward conscious, respectful action.
True listening is an act of bravery. It’s one of the most vulnerable acts there is. The trick of it is to create internal space. And creating space is all about leaning in.