- Put your own thoughts and feelings on hold.
- Pay close attention to what your partner is saying through words and body language.
- Show with your body that you want to hear what your partner says.
- Listen with an open mind and an open heart.
This is the first skill of MML and actually the foundation of effective communication. The skill of empathy is listening keenly, with a focused heart and mind, on the words that the other person is saying to you. But it is more than that. It is listening for the feelings underneath the words–especially those that are unexpressed–for that is the place from which the words came. If we listen for feelings, and not simply for the words that were spoken, then we have a greater likelihood of understanding what our partner–the other person–is really trying to communicate, express, and the more deeply we can empathize with them. Indeed, listening with such empathy is truly an act of love — and the person being listened to feels it.
- Have you listened to someone with such empathy — if so, what was that like?
- Can you recall someone listening to you with such empathy — if so, what did that feel like to you?
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