Conscious Listening: How listening to understand can lead to relationship and life success


Are you experiencing tension and conflict in your relationships?  In this article, we’ll explore how conscious listening can help you become a great communicator, shift the dynamics in your relationships, and accelerate you towards your intentions and goals.

From active listening to conscious listening

You may have heard about active listening and the positive results that it gets both in the workplace and in relationships, but have you heard about conscious listening and its benefits?  Active listening is a great way to start focusing more on when, where, how, and why people say what they say with the objective of improving communication and relationships.  Conscious listening takes it to the next level.  While you will still be reaping the same benefits that you would from active listening, such as improved communication and relationships, with conscious listening, you’ll also gain a greater capacity to truly understand whoever you are listening to.

Why is that important?  Because in order to truly gain the most benefits – which means that it benefits all parties equally – it’s always best to have no agenda or predetermined objective.  Whenever we have an agenda, our intention and attention will be diminished as some of our energy and attention will be redirected towards achieving our goal, rather than simply being present.

Conscious listening leads to greater communication and relationships

In conscious listening, there is no agenda, or predetermined objective other than the desire to simply understand.  Listening to understand, and only to understand, allows you to understand more and gives you the capacity to see more objectively the various points of views, understandings, objectives, and intentions of all parties involved in the communication.  Through conscious listening, you can become aware of solutions to problems that you couldn’t perceive before, and find common ground for all parties involved so that no matter what is negotiated, it’s agreeable to everybody for the most parts.  Everybody wins!

Through conscious listening, you’re always at the top of the mountain, looking at all the options available to you.  From the top of the mountain, you’re not emotionally triggered by bias, fear, opinion, belief, or judgment.  You have more time, space, bandwidth, and creative energy to weigh the possibilities.  Your depth of understanding and groundedness help create a positive momentum towards achieving your intentions and goals.

In addition, with greater perspective, you gain the capacity to create a unique communication platform to enhance all aspects of your relationships.  Not many people are actively engaged in conscious listening.  Doing it will be greatly appreciated and valued by the people around you.  Over time, you’ll experience less reactivity, fewer fights, fewer disagreements, less limiting beliefs, fewer fears, and fewer feelings of separation in your relationships.

Through conscious listening, you’ll also be able to create more understanding, connection, teamwork, friendship, compassion, forgiveness, trust, love, and intimacy in all your relationships.  You’ll achieve more intentional, peaceful, loving, caring, and successful relationships – both professional and personal.  Better relationships, in turn, will lead to greater joy, happiness, inner peace, and fulfillment.

Fear prevents us from consciously listening

If that’s something that you want to achieve for yourself and in your relationships, then it’s important to understand why you might not have had success doing it up until now.  One of the main reasons why it’s so difficult for us to listen and really hear what someone is telling us is because of fear.   Whether it’s the fear of not being heard, accepted, or respected, or the fear of being rejected, misunderstood, or emotionally abandoned, it’s always fear that prevents us from consciously listening.

Our capacity to listen without any objective is in part limited by our fears, and the beliefs, expectations, and judgments that derive from it.  Without fear, there would be no judgment, no expectation, no belief.  There would just be ‘what is’, and we would have to capacity to listen to, observe, and take in ‘what is’ because we wouldn’t feel threatened by it.

When we go into projection mode, we’re no longer consciously listening

When we feel threatened, we go into fear projections.  We’re no longer listening.  Instead, we’re actively projecting our own ‘version of reality’ onto them.  Through the lens of our fears, beliefs, expectations, and judgments, we translate their words, body language, and actions.  When this happens, we’re no longer in rapport with them and we start feeling the effects of separation, miscommunication, inner and outer conflict, i.e more fear, and more projections.

Sometimes, it’s obvious that we’ve lost rapport because we’re in full blown fights.  Other times, it’s more subtle.  We just feel tension in the air.  We feel disconnected and uncomfortable.  In those moments, when we’ve stopped listening consciously, and we’re stuck in projection mode, our fears, beliefs, expectations, and judgments create a wedge between us and whoever we’re communicating with.  When that happens, we lose the capacity to subtract the fears, beliefs, expectations, and judgments of whoever we’re attempting to communicate with from what they’re saying.

How can we then truly understand what they’re actually trying to communicate if we’re projecting?  We can’t.  And if that’s the case, what kind of results do you think you’re going to get from such communications?  Fear-based communication can only lead to fear-driven results.

Would you like to change that?  Would you like to start actually listening to others outside the lens of your and their fears, beliefs, expectations, and judgments?  Would you like to stop listening to reply and to start listening to understand?

Listening to understand

Conscious listening is the process of listening to others by subtracting the fears, beliefs, expectations, judgments, and control strategies both within yourself and others from the process in order to understand the deepest motivations and intentions behind our words and theirs.  In this process, the only intention is to understand.

It sounds simple and it is. Still, it doesn’t make it easy!  Over time, as we release more and more of our fears, it does become easier.  What has made conscious listening difficult for many to implement is emotional triggering.  When you don’t fear being rejected, misunderstood, or emotionally abandoned in a conversation, it becomes a lot easier to listen quietly and to express your emotions in a grounded and loving fashion.

Fear is ungrounding and prevents us from consciously listening

When we have fear, and someone we’re communicating with expresses discontent, blame, resentment, fear, judgment, or any other negative emotions towards us or the relationship, we feel threatened at the core.  This has an ungrounding effect on us, which makes it difficult for us to focus.

When we’re triggered in fear and we feel ungrounded, it becomes very difficult for us to hold a space of consciousness where we can truly listen, accept, and love others, especially if they’re also triggered and blaming.  It’s challenging. It’s painful. At subconscious levels of our system, it feels like we won’t survive it the conversation.  Again, that’s fear, and it’s understandable that we would feel it.  We don’t have to.

When we look at what others are sharing in their communication as potentially damaging to our reputation, our self-image, our health, our wealth, our status. our relationships, etc., our reflex is to go into ‘fight or flight’. This happens because we interpret the feelings, thoughts, perspectives, and emotions that others are sharing with us as a problem.

Once it’s become a problem in our mind, we stop listening.  We stay in fear mode, transition into pain reactive mode, and eventually, we get into fix-it mode…  Fix it mode is rarely conscious and aware.  It’s stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, projecting many more problems than are actually there into the future.  When that happens, rather than listening to decipher and understand so that we can actually support others through their pain, help disentangle ourselves from projections and misunderstandings, and find a positive way forward for everybody, we are stuck in reaction mode.

You can’t react and listen at the same time

It’s not possible to be reacting and listening at the same time.  When we get triggered and start reacting with fear, we go into an endless cycle of projections.  And when we’re projecting, we’re no longer listening, except to our own fears.  When we react to our pain and to the projections that we make of more pain to come in the future, we get entrained in projection mode into the future.  If you’re caught up in the future, you can’t be listening.  You’re too busy micromanaging and controlling all the ways in which things could go wrong.

If we were able, in that moment of triggering, to stop projecting our fears onto the situation, we would be able to listen once again.  When we listen outside the lens of our fear, we have the capacity to focus completely on what others are saying without reacting to our projections of the implications of their words, body language, and actions.

Conscious listening is listening only to listen

This means listening with no attachment and no aversion.  This means listening without looking for ways in which the words, body language, and behaviors of others feel unsafe to us.  This means listening without any preconceived idea about what should or shouldn’t be said or done.  This means listening only to listen.  This is conscious listening.

When you do this, you’ll begin to understand the real motivations and intentions behind everybody’s verbal and non-verbal communications – not their fears, beliefs, expectations, or judgments – nor yours.  Doing so, you’ll be able to respond to the real motivations and intentions of others directly, and thus start supporting yourself, others, and your relationships in the attainment of common intentions and goals.  Everyone wins!

If you’d like help understanding and permanently releasing any fear, belief, expectation, or judgment that you feel might be preventing you from having the kind of communication and relationships that you want and achieving your relationship goals, then schedule a short consultation with us.

On this call, we’ll assess how we can help you achieve better communication, turn misunderstandings and problems around, start truly enjoying your relationships, and achieve your relationship and life goals.

To schedule, click here: Coaching with Us