Frustrated because you can’t “get a word in edgewise?”
Do people cut you off off mid-sentence, interrupt with glee, and let you know they’ve got your issues (and you) all figured out? Worse, are you the one who does it when others are talking to you?
By nature as a child, I was. My mind raced, but with age, professional training and mindfulness, I do listen actively now, hear first, and slow down beyond my instinct. You can too.
Professionally it’s clear how profoundly and well problems can be transformed by allowing a story simply to be told and felt deeply to an “active” listener, without my immediate input, interruption, or response. And I’ve benefitted from the same techniques with friends and family.
When you are angry and frustrated here are some options:
Say, “I need to finish this thought,” or “Tell me what you think I am trying to say.”
When your teenager blusters, your husband hollers, and you’ve had enough, say, “Let me make sure I’ve got what you’re saying.” It will ratchet things down a notch. Diffuse the potential firestorm by taking this tiny “time out. “
The beauty of our deepest relationships is that we truly feel heard. Our friends, lovers, or neighbors may not have the solutions to our dilemma, but show they care by simply taking in what we say fully. They offer clarity before courses of action. They validate and diffuse tough decisions or conversations until we can think clearly.
Taking our reactions off the table until we’ve heard all that needs to be said isn’t disengaging, denying, or losing! It’s creating possibility.