Have you noticed that for most of your life you’ve had this belief? When you speak do you imagine you are invisible? No one notices you.
My story was that no one seemed to hear me. No one wanted to listen to me. Do you believe those things too?
“You’re not listening to me” was my internal catch cry and I’m guessing you hear this often in your own head. Especially when you’re standing in front of someone having started a conversation and they butt in, or come back with a comment that clearly shows you they haven’t been listening to you.
Does your mind go into the space of, “Why am I here, and why am I bothering to even try to talk to this person?” “They don’t really want to listen to me?”
When I sat with what happens for me in these situations I found this list of other beliefs sitting behind the key thought of ‘They don’t want to listen to me”.
It looks like this:
- Why am I bothering to talk to you
- You don’t really want to listen to me
- You don’t care about what I have to say
They don’t really care about you when they won’t listen
If you’re like me then these beliefs that ‘they’re not listening to me’ –> ‘they don’t want to listen to me’ –> ‘they don’t really care about me’ sends you into your downward spiral of feeling unworthy.
At that moment when I’m thinking “they’re not listening” its as if my whole life, my whole value is pinned to them listening to me. And because they’re not, then at that moment I’m not worthy at all. There’s an amazing story woven around this one concept.
Do you also notice that when you are in the discussion that other person may say to you, “I’m not being listened to” or in other words “You’re not listening to me.” And do you notice exactly what you’re feeling in that same moment? My guess is, much the same thing. Funny, isn’t it.
Do you have lots of proof that shows that you aren’t being listened to?
- no one acknowledges what you have said. For me an example of this would be where I would sit with my family, having a discussion and offering my input. No one would say, “Yes, Karen, I agree with you” or “Yes Karen, I hear you and that’s not my understanding.”
- They’re not on your side.’ This showed up for me whenever there was a disagreement between my brother and me. He would get his way, all the time
- no one stood up for you. My strong proof here is that at school if there was any disagreement amongst the girls in my friend group, no one would stand up for me. No one.
- They didn’t ask for your opinion. It’s the same old story, isn’t it, no one wanted to hear what you had to say.
Notice that my story is that this not being listened to happens ALL of the time. And that my story is that NO ONE ever listens to me. That’s not true of course.
How to get someone to listen to you
You are probably wondering why I have finished this article by talking about how to get someone to listen to you. Well, if you feel unheard, then the other person you are with is likely feeling the same way.
To be heard, the best thing to do is to listen to the other person.
Here are some ways that you can do that:
Be fully present with them. What does that look like? It means looking the other person in the eye. Quietening the noise in your head. Focusing and paying attention to what they are saying.
In being fully present you are more open to listening and really hearing what the person has to say.
Show them that you’ve been listening by acknowledging what they have said in some way. This is a simple as saying “I agree that… ” or “I heard you say that…” These words show the other person that you have really heard them as you are playing back what they have said to you.
Be open to the other person hearing you and responding however they do. They may not hear what you say. They may only hear your interpretation of what you said, based on their own internal filters. Be okay with that. Sometimes simply realising that it isn’t possible for that other person to ‘really’ hear you, lifts a weight.