Listening attentively and open-heartedly can establish an honest connection with another. In the silence between our words, nonverbal listening skills begin to ‘hear’ more than what is being vocalized. Researchers say between 55% – 93% of performance and communication effectiveness is actually determined by nonverbal cues.
I believe, what arises in these self-muted moments is a reunion with our true selves.
As a species we long to be ‘heard’, seen, acknowledged, and uniquely valued for who we are. We feel anonymous, unrecognized, disregarded, and starved for attention, exacerbating how much we talk versus listen…especially to our own inner voice. So who’s not listening to whom?
Just look at the voluminous number of blogs, spawned by an insatiable desire to attract collective attention, to be ‘heard”. This unfulfilled need emanates from our projection of not listening to (or valuing) ourselves, sadly reflecting back to us a lack of self-worth. This is especially true of women, who for centuries have been bought, sold and traded as possessions, re-enforcing the message of human devaluation, thus feeding this insecurity.
At this turbulent juncture in human evolution some relevant questions emerge.
Why are we, as women, not as masterful at the art of listening to our inner voice? We certainly have this skill when it comes to hearing, and getting, others needs met?
What beliefs might conflict with the instinctual desire to get our own needs met?
Belief systems are inherited and learned. Some are borne out of ancestral teachings, societal mores, or religious and national laws, often feeding our insecurities rather than anchoring our sense of self-worth. Historically, we observe women as more easily controlled if they hold self-perceptions of being undervalued, disempowered, spiritually weakened, or denied the freedom to individuate.
So, what commonly held beliefs might habituate and reinforce our inability to ‘listen’ to our own inner voice?
Isn’t it ‘better to give (our attention to another) than to receive’ (attention from ourselves)? Haven’t women been taught it is shameful and selfish to prioritize our own needs over others? Do we deserve to be happy when born with original sin? Hasn’t it been our collective path, to be-in-suffering, since we equate the archetype of The Martyr to being ‘almost’ divine?
Can we start trusting ourselves to do what it takes to get our needs met? When will it be your time to decide to make this commitment to yourself? That you will no longer be a slave to your behavioral past, or a prisoner of someone else’s dream, or dictate, of what your future must become?
The act of listening to yourself, and being personally responsible for getting your needs met, establishes a foundational platform of safety and trustworthiness, where your emotions will find their voice. Only when we, as women, consciously listen to ourselves will we each stop struggling with ‘the other’ for prominence, dominance and control over our own lives, because we will have ceased struggling with ourselves.