Relationship Help For Women - Love & Listening

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I'm not listening. I'm acting like I am, I'm standing here. But my daughter's face may as well be on a movie screen. It flickers in front of me.

There's food on the stove. There's a half-written article on the computer. My vitamins are waving to me from the kitchen counter. I'm all over the place. Every place but here.

And she can tell. My daughter has a nose for who's really there and who's not. But she's still talking, and so I think, between the scattered words and phrases "and then he ..." that I actually hear, I'm listening, I'm listening, she believes I'm listening!

Then she stops, looks at me. I've been found out. she breathes. I breathe. She goes on. I have a second chance.

I know what to do. I unfold my arms from in front of my body. Start a CoachRori Body Dialogue - but wait. This isn't the time for a Body Dialogue. This isn't about me. It's about her. Her experience. Nothing to do with me.

The stove, the computer, the vitamins are all calling, and still the only thing to do is...listen. I throw myself Over There, to where she is. I move myself away from myself, and focus on her nose, her eyes, her words. I don't remember anything more except that she was smiling, and pretty thrilled and breathless about her dream, what with the chase, the roller coaster and the mistaken identities, and that I wasn't even there.

When there's someone else talking, you can bypass your brain and get instantly present by going to Level 2 Listening. Here's how it works:

Level 1 Listening is It's all about me. Level 2 is It's all about you. Listening at Level 3 is a bit esoteric - It's all about everything. Listening to someone and then feeling heard by them is an unbelievable experience – and it's very rare. Most of us are at Level 1 all the time. Most of the time, we aren't really listening, we're thinking about ourselves – what we're going to say next, what we think about the other person, that our pants are too tight, we have a pimple on our chin, anything but the person right in front of us.

When we're in a conversation with someone, and we're thinking about how what that person is saying relates to us, we're at Level 1. I may be sitting or standing here talking with you, but actually I'm all in my own head about me. Oh, that happened to me too! Or I wonder if he likes my hair or I wonder if he'll ask me out. There is nothing wrong with Level 1 Listening – in other words, being all about ourselves – except that it limits our ability to really relate to others.

Level 2 Listening is the complete reverse of Level 1. Imagine how, when you're utterly in love with someone, all you can see is their face, all you can hear is their voice, all you can smell is their breath and cologne. Their words and the feelings they express are, in that moment, the most important things in the world to you. In fact, the only things in the world.

When you listen to a man, really Listen at Level 2, you will change the moment, the interaction, the entire relationship. And as a result, he will change – almost overnight.

A man you think you're not attracted to might suddenly open up and become really attractive to you once you find out about him. To do this, just relax. Relax completely and be over there, with him. Let yourself go as though you no longer exist.

Your thoughts are just passing through – you're over there. You don't have to talk, or smile, or do anything.

Just listen.

Here's how to practice Level 2 Listening right now. In the Have the Relationship You Want workshops, we work in partners. One person talks about themselves - what's on their mind, what they did today, anything. The other person listens at Level 2. The talking person's only job is to focus on them self, and the listening person's only job is to focus on the talking person.

I say, Listeners, all you have to do is listen. Get comfortable. It doesn't matter if you're leaning forward or leaning back. Look at your partner. Look at their face, their eyes. Try to stay focused on their words. Really give yourself over to them completely. You are at Level 2 Listening, which is all about them – it's over there.

If you notice your mind wandering back to – Oh, that happened to me too, or Yeah, I agree – which is Level 1 – shift back to them. When you're really at Level 2, you'll be completely immersed over there. Okay – go.

If you have a friend to work with, practice on each other. If you are working alone, let's do the exercise differently:

Put yourself in front of a mirror. Imagine that you, in the mirror, are going to hang on every word you, in front of the mirror, say. Your mirror image will follow wherever your thoughts go, giving you total attention. Go ahead and talk about your day. Tell your image everything that happened to you today – the emotion of it, the detail of it, what was important about it. Laugh, cry, say whatever comes to mind. Pay little or no attention to your mirror image.

Now, when you finish up, think about how it felt to completely unload your mind and heart while your mirror image did nothing but listen. She did not interject, offer advice, even go uh-huh. If you imagine that you in the mirror were listening intently and compassionately, you may feel as heard, as light and unburdened as you would practicing with a partner. Now, in order to reverse it, we'll do without words altogether.

Look at yourself in the mirror, and become completely absorbed in your image's eyes, hair, nose, mouth, smile – with this important agreement: You must pretend that this mirror image is someone else. In this way, you can look at the mirror image's hair and notice that it has gray in it, or curl, or a highlight, without thinking about it. In other words, as soon as you say to yourself Oh, I have to color my roots, you've moved back to Level 1 Listening.

Your job is to observe with attention and compassion the qualities of the face in front of you, and to commune instinctively with the emotions conveyed by the face and the person in front of you. You are to forget that the image in the mirror is you.

Try this for a few minutes and see what it feels like. It may feel like a mental vacation. A moment to observe and feel without thinking. Without bringing your observations back to yourself.

Now take what you've experienced and practice it out in the world.

I encourage you to practice, practice, practice. Practice with the busboy, the clerk, your blind date, your boyfriend or your husband, your children, your friends, your relatives, your pet, the birds outside, and total strangers. Practice and notice when you go back to Level 1. The more you do it, the more natural it will become to listen at Level 2.

Once thing I do remember, and try not to forget, is my daughter stopping abruptly at the end of her dream-telling and hugging me before she danced off, back to her room, back to her computer, back to her books and her music, back to her life.

Author: In her workshops, classes, private coaching, radio and TV shows and new book, Have the Relationship You Want, relationship coach Rori Gwynne teaches women the completely original, simple-to-do and stunningly effective techniques for communication, confidence, and connecting with men that she used to turn her now-glorious, decades long marriage around. Visit to get her free Mantra for Connecting with Men, the CoachRori e-zine, and to see how Rori can help you get the love and romance you want

Relationship Help For Women

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