Listening is the one relationship tool everyone knows to be essential. The need to be heard is universal. Relationships just don't go anywhere without it. All that raises the question, "What about the relationship I have with myself?"
Of course, the relationship you have with yourself (call it self-esteem, self-concept...or some variation on the theme) is incredibly important. In some ways, it's the foundation for your relationships others. So, it follows that listening to yourself carefully and respectfully is essential.
The skill of listening to yourself resides in your ability to step back from yourself (your thoughts) and listen from a bit of a distance. Hear yourself the way others might hear you. That means having empathy for yourself as well as having the ability to be critical of your own thoughts and words. It's important that you pick up the task of listening to you as opposed to leaving that task only for others.
It's much easier to have a conversation with someone who is carefully listening to herself than it is to have a conversation with someone who refuses to listen to herself.
By listening to yourself carefully and respectfully, you model an important aspect of healthy relating.
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These posts are written by Jake Thiessen, PhD, co-founder of Couples at Crossroads. We hope you find them interesting, helpful and maybe provocative. Please feel free to comment on them.