Being a Good Sounding Board

(The Art of Listening) Written by  Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta of Mid-town Manhattan

An essential skill in creating good communication in your relationship is listening for feelings. Two skills, self-disclosing and active listening, go together. Both are absolutely crucial in your efforts to remake your relationship. Being was a good listener means being able to shelve your ego and keep it from interfering. With the ego out of the picture you are not projecting your own feelings, thoughts, or opinions into the conversation. You stay focused on listening for *your *partner's feelings, your effort is geared to understanding, not analyzing, interpreting, or editorializing. The end result is that you become a good sounding board for your partner and let his/her feelings emerge.

Being a good sounding board means listening without allowing your ego to interject your own personal agenda into what you hear. This is how you create a safe space for the other to be in. Granting this space is a precious gift that enriches both parties. Your intention is to understand and empathize with your partner. You always want  to clarify, not criticize. By keeping your ego out of it you create a safe space, and then your partner, feels safe enough to open up.

While this kind of active, non-judgmental listening may sound simple, it’s not easy to do. For many couples it’s a struggle when one partner wants to share an issue or concern. That’s because most of us are not in the habit of suspending our ego opinions and conclusions about what we hear. Listening without judging, being quietly neutral, especially if it’s a topic we’re interested in, can be difficult.

Also, our ability to listen for feelings gets compromised by our need to fix things, to find solutions, or to rescue our partner from what we see as troublesome or painful emotions. And while these may be good intentions they get in the way by shifting the focus to our needs and the other ends up feeling neither heard nor understood

Both Dr. Evelyn and Dr. Paul have many years of experience dealing with all the above issues. Contact us today to learn more!

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