Mindful listening: a baby's ear

Challenge #15: Listen Mindfully to Your Partner

This week's challenge is for you to concentrate on your partner when you're together.

How often do you only listen to your loved ones with one ear? You're busy preparing dinner, are still thinking about a project at work, or are simply tired when your partner is approaching you.

Sometimes, even something as seemingly easy as listening can be a real challenge.

This week, be fully present and listen closely to them when they speak. You might hear more than you thought you would!

So how do I mindfully listen?

The main idea, as always with mindfulness, is to be fully present. This can be really hard in everyday life. 

Be forgiving with yourself. Give your best, and accept it if your best isn’t always as good as you’d like it to be. You can always give it another try later on.

As you listen, keep the following in mind:

  • Pay full attention to what your partner is saying - be present
  • Try to be aware of distractions and shut them out as best as you can
  • Your own worries, emotional reactions,  and thoughts count as distractions, too. Keep them in check as well!
  • Use empathy: How does your partner feel, and how would you feel in that situation?
  • Try to understand the essence of what your partner is saying. A lot may get said - what is the basic point they’re making?
  • Use your background knowledge: You know your partner so well. What are they saying between the lines, and what is left unsaid?
  • Show interest and show them you are listening by nodding, smiling and keeping eye contact.
  • Last but not least, you can give verbal feedback that shows you’re attentive.

Give it a try this week, and let us know how it’s going or if you have any questions!

This article is part of our series on mindfulness. If you'd like to find out more, check out our introduction to mindfulness as well as our articles on mindful listening, mindful speaking and mindful conflict resolution.

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