I believe effective communication is at the heart of any relationship. However, while communicating, one thing which is more important than the expression part is the listening part. After all, there is no point speaking your heart out if the other person does not give a damn about it!
The art of listening requires you to have a deeper connection with each other. Let us take an example to understand it better. Just imagine putting on headphones and playing one of your favorite jazz artists. You wish to listen to your favorite song, but alas! It is playing only in the right stereo while the left stereo is numb! The first thing that comes to your mind would be - Surely, something is disconnected - either the headphone is not attached to the audio jack or has broken. Though you would be able to hear the melody, it would still feel like a shadowy voice, and you would only hear, not listen. You would not be able to listen to the beautiful melody as the connection is missing. To comprehend the song, you need that missing connection. The same happens when a relationship lacks connection. Without it, you will only hear them speaking, without comprehending what they are saying. Without it, you will only hear instead of listening.
Developing a deeper bond requires compassion. When both of you are compassionate about each other, you can put yourself in the shoes of one another. It would eventually help you develop a strong connection with each other, and you would be able to listen to each other more patiently.
How to Comfort Your Partner by Being a Compassionate Listener
While some people are born with compassion in their hearts, others are not. But if determined enough to make your relationship work at any cost, one can also cultivate compassion with consistent efforts. Here are some pointers that can help you in mastering the art of compassionate listening, which will help you in comforting your partner whenever they require an ear.
Listen to them with a deep sense of understanding. You must put yourself in the other's shoes, meaning that you must listen as if the same thing is happening to you. Try to relate as much as you can. One thing which is quite essential is to think emotionally as well as rationally. Try to leave all your prejudice and biases aside, and ask yourself what you would have done if you were in that position.
Instead of trying to focus on giving any solution to their problems, you must try focusing on how you can let them know you are on the same page. Let them know by responding to them. Phrases like, I understand what you are going through, I am listening to you, and I am here for you, etc., to let them know that you are listening. If you have been in the same situation in the past, let them know how it feels. It creates a lot of difference.
Whenever they are going through hard times, you must let them know that it is okay to feel this way. We are all human, and it is okay to feel every emotion, be it sadness, happiness, anger, frustration, or anything! Let them know that it is okay to feel emotions. Let them vent out in front of you. As a listener, your first focus should be on how you can support them and make them feel loved under any circumstances.
Avoid giving any solution unless they ask for it. Feeling heard is the first thing that a person needs in a hard time. It's because people do not have time (or may I say, they do not wish to spare time) for pausing their fast-paced lifestyle. And being their better half, you should make them feel heard in your presence.
Listen to them to protect them from all their fears. Allow them to be vulnerable in your presence. As a partner, you must be supportive enough to give your partner a safe space, a place where they are free of all kinds of judgment. A place where they don't feel uncomfortable sharing whatever they have in their mind and heart. Give them space where they can feel vulnerable so that you can protect them from their inner fears. Being vulnerable will help them grow much closer to you.
Sometimes, it can be hard to understand what someone else is going through, but compassion can help you gain a little perspective.