Listening to (re)connect
Listening. Why is that so hard to do?
I catch myself 'mmmhmmm'-ing at my kids and my husband alike as I cook dinner. Only later do I realize I had no idea what was said. With friends I hear just enough to make it relevant to me, then I want to interrupt to insert my two cents. Upon reflection, most days it feels like my brain listens just long enough to make it special for me.
Last week inside the Connected Couples Campus, Brett laid out a seemingly simple recipe to reach connection. Connection with our loved ones, our bosses, and our friends. He challenged us all to give this a try. Next time we found ourselves inside conflict, he wanted us to repeat, reflect, and reconnect. I'll get to that in a second, but I feel like the very, very first step is learning to listen.
Naturally, within 24 hours after Brett's lesson, my husband and I had a spat about something or another. Of course now, one week later, I can't even remember what it was about. The key point here is that I accepted Brett's challenge. I bit my tongue. I encouraged my brain to have patience, to focus, and I truly listened to everything my husband was saying. I listened to how he was feeling and to why this was important to him. I listened to what he wanted to do about it, and to what he wanted me to do. I had to redirect my brain more than once.
REPEAT: Brett told us all in CCC that step one is to repeat what they said, word for word. Easy enough, right? Except my brain decided that only half of what my husband was telling me was important (The part about feelings, right? Feelings are all that matter here, right?? Tell me you agree!). So, I, feeling confident, repeated this half, and hubs reiterated the second half. Then I repeated the second half, and he reiterated the first. It wasn't until I repeated, word for word, the entirety of his statement, that I saw his whole body relax. His face seemed to fill with relief, and already that felt like magic.
REFLECT: Unfortunately for me, we weren't quite done with the process. And it only got harder for me. So I asked my husband for some time. The next step was to reflect. Not to reflect on how this will benefit me, or how I feel, or what I want out of this. I needed to truly put myself in my husbands position. How would it feel if I experienced the emotions my husband had? Easier said than done. Putting myself in another's shoes is a practice I tell ya!
RECONNECT: Once I felt like I really understood my husband it was time for this last step. I returned to my husband and I told him how devastated I would be if I felt the way he was feeling. I told him the very last thing I wanted in the world was for him to feel like I'm disrespecting him. I said that, more than anything, I want us to work together.
And so, we did.
And now, I would like to turn Brett's challenge over to each one of you. Next time you're in conflict, remember these three steps - repeat, reflect, reconnect!
p.s. While you're memorizing that - repeat, reflect, reconnect - I encourage you to click the link below to head on over to join us inside the Connected Couples Campus so you don't miss out on the next valuable lesson!