Listening with curiosity rather than judgement…
It’s human nature to get into habits…
And these habits are also a way of avoiding living constantly in the unfamiliar, which can be highly stressful for some…
In relationship, habits can work both for and against us.
Creating habits does work for us in the building of unique little rituals only we share, creating feelings of connection.
Some habits can also work against us, in creating and allowing unhealthy relationship patterns, such as taking our partners for granted.
Habits like taking our partners for granted can be a fast track to relationship boredom and dissatisfaction.
Here is how it can happen, and that it is also possible to learn embodied listening with curiosity as a way out of boredom and into fascination.
In new relationship there seems to be so much to talk about.
In the bubble of new love you’re completely fascinated by each other, literally hanging on each other’s words.
You’re fully engaged in the moment with them, hours seem to disappear, making time seem meaningless.
If you think back on it, you were probably not only hearing their words you also noticed their facial expressions, the nuances of their body language, subliminal messaging and even their tone of voice.
Your own body was involved in the conversation as well, feeling tinglings of excitement, an openness and an aliveness that felt totally engaging.
But after a while it begins to seem as if you’ve heard it all before.
You assume there’s nothing new coming and your interest level wanes.
It becomes easier to check out the TV, Facebook or your emails rather than give your partner your full attention.
You believe you know what this once fascinating person is going to say before they even open their mouths and quickly start to tune out and think of other things.
It’s the same thing with your own sharings, you think they’ve heard you all before, that they’ll be assuming they know it all and that you will have little new to say.
Sharing becomes a bore and you wonder where has the spark gone?
But the spark hasn’t really disappeared, it’s just that where you’re coming from in your listening isn’t creating or allowing the spark to ignite.
You’re listening to your significant other from your intellectual self, where your judgements and assumptions come easily.
Are you judging your partner based on the past rather than experiencing them fully in the now, as you used to do ?
Are you assuming you know what the other’s talking, rather than actually listening to what they are trying to communicate?
This becomes an assumption that you know everything about who the other person is, and listening to answer, rather than listening to actually hear and feel into what they trying to communicate.
You might actually know who they’ve been, but you don’t know who they’re being right now if you’re not truly listening, and miss out on seeing their growth and change.
And you’ll miss who they’re becoming as it hasn’t happened yet.
Don’t you want to be there to find out?
The information they’re sharing may be the same as they (or you) have shared before.
But this person has lived more of their life since the last time they shared and their life experience makes the different.
They may be in a different space emotionally or energetically.
Don’t just listen to the story and assume you know all about it, and therefore all about them (which is not only limiting it is also shaming).
Do yourself a favour and see your spouse in this moment as a whole new being you’ve never met before.
Do all those things you used to do without thinking, put all of your attention onto who they are being right now, observe rather than judge, listen with your body, listen with your heart rather than your head, feel into them as well as hear them.
Ask open questions, inviting more of them to emerge..
Ask opening questions that invite deeper sharing such as ‘how was that for you?’ or ‘can you tell me more about that?’
This spark of curiosity in you allows previously unforseen questions to arise in you so you can ask them.
All this extra information will be totally new and interesting as it has never happened before in exactly this way.
The same is true for you, you’re different from the person you were when you last heard this information. What is it that you are noticing in yourself?
Relationships are either growing or dying
One of the things that stops us from fully seeing or listening with our whole self is that we may feel uncomfortable or have fear over what we may find.
We may hear our partner’s pain, feel their walls or maybe their lack of presence with us.
We’re tempted to make this about us but the skill is in seeing that where they’re at is about them.
How we perceive them is about us.
If you can separate yourself from them and hear, see and feel them as a multi layered, unique being at this particular moment in their own world, having their own experience from a place of curiosity you will find a fascination that never leaves.
Offering our presence in this way can allow our significant other to share more openly as well.
There’s nothing like an engaged, available listener to inspire a person to new heights.
After all, isn’t that what used to happen?
Your partner will feel seen, heard and even loved, unconsciously inviting the same from them.
Yet this is about being curious for ourselves, to create our own satisfying relationship experiences rather than expecting anything in return, for expectations deny possibilities.
Practice: Experience your next conversation with your partner as above rather than just listening with your intellect and see what happens!