Have you ever felt that your partner wasn’t giving you what you needed when expressing what was on your mind? Or perhaps it was the opposite, and your partner let you know they did not get the support they needed from you when sharing what they felt? It is natural for us to talk to and hear others from our “me” perspective because we experience the world through our mind, emotions and physical sensations within our own individual body. It takes practice to look at something from another person’s unique perspective.
What if something shared to me by my partner is not about “me” and it is actually about them, can I give her what she needs from that perspective? Or what if it is about “me” and they are only hearing me from their own “me” perspective? When this happens, even with loving intent, what we need from the other is often misguided because of a simple misunderstanding.
To me, conscious communication not only describes hearing what our significant other is communicating but to also be aware that when they are talking about how they feel, the point is from their perspective and not mine. When it’s about them, and we turn it around to become about ourselves, it diverts energy and attention away from where its needed and issues will build up.
Listening to your spouse from their perspective
What I mean is like this. If my wife needs to express to me some difficult experience she had today to get it out of her system by being heard, and I try to give her solutions without her asking for them, then I am not hearing it from her perspective, I hear it from mine. If I left it about her perspective, letting it be about her (which it is in this example), an option could be listening and mirroring back to her with love what she just said. Ex: “It sounds like you have had a really rough day”, perhaps giving her a hug if it feels right at the time. I may or may not be able to relate to her experience, but that is ok, as it is about how she feels and how I can support her in that feeling without judging or trying to make it something else.
When we receive what we need, feel heard, acknowledged and loved through our feelings and emotions, then we are in the best environment that will support us to process and let go of what we feel. If instead, we got the other’s opinion of what they would do, or what they think we should do, or interrupted by them taking it into their experience, then they are taking the point of our communication from us and making it about themselves. If that happens, how can we feel supported and heard if the focus of attention of what we are saying does not stay on how we feel?
Focus of the conversation should be on the partner expressing their feelings
It seems fair to me to ask for this, because if it was me that had something important to express, then it is appropriate that the focus of attention be on me and my feelings until it was complete. This way I can get what I need when I put it out there, and when my partner needs my support for her thing, she can open up that conversation about her when the stage is clear.
Of course, everybody has their way of communicating and needs for being heard, so to add to what I have said, here is a simple guideline: When in doubt about what your partner needs from you to feel heard, acknowledged and loved by you, ask them. As well, part of conscious communication is to tell the other what our needs are too. It all starts with ourselves, because if we want our partner to be there for us in the ways we need, then we need to learn and be our best of what they need from us.
Give this a try and see how much you and your relationship grows and changes from this practice!