Hearing with care – what does it mean?

I will live longer and life will be better, if I stop projecting my pain onto their words. This is what I do, when I am not hearing with care. Why?

Because when I hear anything wrong in a message, it is not about their need but about my need and therefore I am not hearing what is the wonderful quality they are trying to bring to my attention. It is like saying: “I do not care what you say, listen to me first and hear me correctly, you SOB.” It seems to be put in strong words, but it is indeed a painful experience not to be hear.

To care means that I do not just listen, but I listen to understand. If needed it means I say back to the other person what it is that they value and request, and that I ask them, if they feel heard to their satisfaction.

A habit, but not an obligation

I do not need to do much in order to not hear with care, it is habit. And a widely shared habit at that. When I am in an automatic mode, pleasantly cruising along, I might just be constantly hearing my own stuff in the outside world.

But I we are not obliged to continue to go by our habit, we can stop and make a different choice.

If this seems to be impossible in the moment itself – because we have strong emotions with people from our family or in decisive moments of our life, for example – we can return to the situation later and try to hear otheres with care a bit later.

Main Obstacle to Hearing Others with Care

The main obstacle to hearing other with care is mostly our own pain, that gets in the way. That pain is often so intense and even overwhelming that we really need to be able to hear that first. Usually we are asking other to hear this pain, but we ask it from people who themselve are unable to do it, because they are in the same situation than we. But we have an inner ability to be compassionate with ourselves, to hear ourselves. We can hear our pain and understand this pain deeply, in its true meaning.

Maybe we may need support from a friend to be able to hold our own pain with care.

Maybe we need to slow down, write down our thoughts and make space to feel what is alive in our body, listen to our anger, fear or shame in a kind and caring way.

We can use the four steps of compassionate communication, try to focus on what we observe, what we feel, need and request.

We can try to gather strengths by looking at the bright side in our life, the love we can feel that we are receiving – and then dive back into another difficult moment with renewed strength to hold a certain intense pain.

Many things are possible. It all starts with an intention – I want to hear myself and other with care. I want to take care of myself as a true friend would do.

At the same time it can be very helpful to try to hear another person with care – in case I have some space to hear another person, in case my pain is not as huge as to have no space at all to hear another person.

We can then slow down our consiousness and approach any message with the structure that helps us to unblock our natural compassionate self. What is it, that they might observe, feel, need and request?

Unpacking the message and hearing it on a deeper level of positive meaning can at the same time free us from the pain we feel, when we only project our pain onto the message. So in fact this unpacking also constitues a way of caring for ourselves. It does not need to be an altruistic, “self-less” move, as some part inside of us may be trying to warn us. 🙂 It can be done as self-care and as a general contribution to a more peaceful world.

Choosing to hear with care is first of all an important intention, which I need to remember often and try to make a part of my daily practice in communication.

Did I hear with care today?
When and who?
Not yet?
Then – let’s do it now.
Take any situation in my day and let me hear it again – with care.

Often we end up getting angry in the same situations, so if we want to act with more care in the future, we can free ourselves by dedicating some compassionate attention to such moments. By connecting to the values contained in the anger, we step out of the prison of right-wrong thinking and maybe able to act differently when presented with the same challenge in the future.