One common source of stress is not being heard. This takes form in many ways but the outcome is often similar: a blow to morale. What’s the next step past that initial sting? Below are words, actions, and lifestyle strategies following the biological breakdown of how to you use your voice when no one is listening.
It’s that time of year when we get together to celebrate a milestone birthday in the family. I’m the little sister to two siblings but I’m also forty-three. Active listening wasn’t a skill we were taught by our parents, so the relational dynamics weigh to the side of pecking order verses as adults with commonalities when we engage in conversation. This is a classic ‘Iceberg Effect’.
According to the iceberg metaphor our state of health is what people are open to experiencing.
On a day, year, or decade timeline only a small part of our lifestyle is witnessed. Therefore, people only get a slight view to one’s perceived state of health.
The motivational level to one’s state of health is secluded. It may include only those who dwell or are invited to be a part of that health aspect.
The meaning realm is one’s soul. It’s the most intimate interpersonal relationship between health, body, and mind.
Active listening is a learned skill.
Our state of health improves with listening. Our behaviors, psychological, and spiritual core resolve the degree of difficulty to becoming an active listener. Our response is active listening.
How you use your voice when no one is listening reveals your state of health.
WORDS ARE A VOTE
“Good listeners overcome their natural inclination to fix the other’s problems and to keep the conversation brief.” DR GRAHAM D BODIE
Listening responses are a key vote of awareness. It affirms trust, honor, and respect within what’s being communicated. This didn’t come naturally for me and I still need to improve this skill. Family reunions with weeks of living together is a great lab-space for practice.
Pick one or two of the sixteen listening responses below to practice. Add another as you improve.
- RESTATING Frequently repeating what you believed to hear through paraphrasing. “To be sure I’m understanding…”
- SUMMARINZING Identifying the key points to ensure correct understanding. “So it sounds like…”
- MINIMAL ENCOURAGERS Verbal prompts to reassure you’re following along. “Oh?” “I understand.”
- REFLECTING A response that identifies the feelings shared. “It sounds frightful for you…”
- GIVING FEEBACK Sharing your first impression of a matter, including observations and experiences, confirmed by listening to their response.
- EMOTION LABELING Objectify what’s heard by identifying their feelings. “The tone of your voice shows the amount of anger you have.”
- PROBING Questions may draw deeper insight. “Why do you believe there are…”
- VALIDATION A genuine response that validates the information shared. “I’m encouraged that you…”
- EFFECTIVE PAUSE This emphasizes relevant points with silence to affirm the importance of what was said.
- SILENCE Quiet moments slow the pace of conversation, diffuses pointless chatter. It provides time to think between talking.
- “I” MESSAGES ‘I’ statements center conversation on the problem, addressing your feelings verses them. “What you have to say is important to me but I need to…”
- REDIRECTING Direct attention to a new topic when a conversation becomes inappropriate.
- CONSEQUENCES Draw light on potential issues of inaction with a fact shared but posed as a possible consequence. “Where did that end in your last attempt?”
Communication blockers are a key vote to avoidance. It affirms emotional and psychological weakness to endure what’s being communicated. One of these have a tendency to come out when I’m disengaged, exhausted, or emotionally weak.
Which blocker below have you used?
- Asking ‘Why’
- Quick verbal reassurance
- Digging for information
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER
When I’m with my siblings I often remain quiet. One may see this as a cop-out (behavior level of the Iceberg Effect) but I’ve learned it’s safest for me (spiritual level).
Being heard is as relevant as being seen attending to the conversation. Remain in the same space with body and facial language engaged in the conversation.
Begin a brief self-observation from head to toe. It takes 3 seconds to do this brief check-in with the body before beginning a conversation:
- Suitable environment for content of conversation
- Suitable furnishings for comfort and length of time of conversation
- Eye contact free from distraction
- In proximity to clearly hear what’s spoken
- Slight smile
- Shoulders and upper body facing the primary speaker
- Arms open in a receiving posture
- Hips and toes facing the primary speaker
In circumstance where someone is exerting power or control over you, take a stand. Act towards what is safest for your psychological and spiritual levels (back to the Iceberg Effect).
Seek legal or professional help.
THE PRIMARY DIALOGUE
“Then, amazingly, after about a minute of focused breathing, I found the mental and physical strength to figure out a new climbing route and make it to the top. For me, this was a great lesson in ‘taking a breather when things get tough.'” LEIGH STRINGER
If you’re pointing a finger at someone(s) it’s time to turn the finger around. It’s your voice, your body, your responsibility.
Yes…it may be a fact you’re not being heard or given time to express your self. In those moments check in by observing your body, mind, and surroundings. Make the adjustments necessary to support longevity of your state of health.
- Rapid heart rate?
- Holding your breath?
- Visceral response…nausea or headache?
- Are your thoughts positive or negative about you?
- Are your thoughts positive or negative about who you’re listening to?
- Does this person have power over you?
- Is this person controlling you?
- Are you physically positioned to be engaged in the conversation?
- Do you desire to be engaged in the conversation?
Not being heard may sting but there are words, actions, and self-preparation strategies to boost morale. The top of the iceberg is visible to all. With it is the mystery of what’s below the surface.
Compassion moves voices and active listening into deeper waters.