Using Language Effectively
University of Phoenix
Expecting others to share my personal beliefs and values causes a barrier when listening. I feel as though when talking to an individual who can’t identify with how I feel or my personal beliefs it tends to divert my attention from the person I am communicating with. Getting emotional, screaming, fast talking, interrupting, and misunderstandings all contribute to not listening effectively. Using different strategies when communicating can help have you become a better listener instead of a replier. First step is identifying the barriers you have when communication. Values or cultural beliefs and lack of focus are two barriers that hindered me from being a better listener to my partner.
I have had arguments with a spouse about how I am not a good listener, how I am always distracted, or how I don’t care enough about any situation that bothers them. I always considered myself on being a good listener but I have noticed that it is becoming more of a struggle. It is not that I do not find what my spouse seems concerning not interesting, but it does not align with how I feel thus meaning I tend to listen but with the intent of responding. My family is a blended family which means work, communication, and active listening is key to making our family work. In the beginning we had a big difference on how our kids should interact with each other. My spouse explained how he felt about his son and the relationship with my sons. At that time I thought I was being open and listening to how he felt their relationship with each other wasn’t respectful. I responded with the norm I will talk to my kids and try and resolve. However I felt that boys will be boys and his son needed to toughen up. So instead I developed passive listening and ending our conversations with ok Hun I will fix it. Instead I would distract myself with working and social media. This only created bigger issues later down the line.
Barriers such as values or cultural beliefs played a major factor with listening. I was easy to dismiss the issue in my relationship because to me it did not align with how I was raised or brought up. Lack of focus played heavily with my listening. If something is not the norm for me I immediately shut down. This is what I have been witnessing in my relationship. I also work two full time jobs so focusing and concentration is also features that work against me. I would find myself agreeing to my spouse and dismissing the conversation with ok I will handle it or the conversation would get out of control with an end result of us arguing. I would listen but only to hear that I now feel personally attacked and now I have to yell to get my point across. At the end of the day it strained our relationship even further.
I realized I had issues and my relationship was worth fixing so I needed to admit to myself my problem. First step with me was identifying why I was getting so upset when my spouse would express their feelings to me. I also had to take responsibility of a part of the situation he became more irate because I was not listening. To him it seemed like I did not care and that it wasn’t important. Some strategies that help me stay focused were to take my self my views on how I felt about the situation out of it. I reduced work tremendously so I had time to focus and actually take time to listen. We scheduled a time to talk where there would be no kids, no work, and no phones so we could do nothing but hear each other. I actively listened by looking directly at my spouse in the eyes and focusing on the root problem that was troubling our relationship. I let my spouse talk without interruptions. Instead of giving feedback with my opinion or how I felt I asked more questions to get a more depth understanding of our problem. I empathized with him and asked for suggestions on how to fix the issue.
It took some time but we eventually fixed that problem. We will never be perfect with communicating and we will have more arguments but this time they will be different. I can approach them before it becomes heated or strain our family. I just have to continue to set dedicated time to listen and understand. Most importantly ask questions and get feedback so that I have help resolving. This would not only help me to become a better listener in my personal relationship but with my work relationships, family, and friends.
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