Laura Minnigerode on Listening Partnerships
During the winter holiday season, I often feel overpowered with emotions about the past. While I cherish memories of being with my family, I feel out of touch and alone. We are separated by thousands of miles and communication styles. It's hard to reach out.
The feelings hit hardest on the holidays.
This year, with the help of a listening partnership, I released a lot of sadness and frustration. Over many sessions, I worked on these feelings and thoughts, many of which had gone unnoticed for years.
After letting go of these feelings, my listening partner asked me, “What would be your perfect holiday? What do you want it to look like?”
That question made me stop.
I began to really think clearly about what I wanted from my family, specifically from my parents and sisters. And with that better thinking, I was able to understand that at least some of what I wanted was available to me, it was just up to me to reach out and make it happen.
I started by calling to talk to them.
It turned out that my older sister had just arrived at my parent's house. This was really nice, because she lives overseas and we often miss each other due to the time difference. It felt great to talk to both my parents and my sister.
After the call I felt like an amazing weight had been lifted from me, one that I didn't even realized i'd been carrying. Through my listening partnerships i'd learned that even though I can’t control what other people do or how they react, my feelings of powerlessness about my relationships did not have to be my reality.
How can you use listening partnership tool?
- When you notice tension or tightness and you are not thinking clearly, bring these feelings to a listening partner. A listening partner will hold that you are good, and will listen without advice or judgment.
- With your listener, tell the story of a time when you felt the same way you do now. As you talk, you may begin to arouse the stored feelings that you never got to feel at the time, now with your listener's added support.
- Shake out any sad feelings. You can do this physically, or by reimagining your reality. Re-tell story of your dream holiday gathering and what it would be like.
The listening partnership tool is yours to use, and I hope that it can bring you support.
Listening Partnerships are one of Hand in Hand's Five Listening Tools for Parents. Find out about the four other tools that will transform your parenting.
Read about how listening partnerships work for parents in Before Parents Can Parent with Empathy They Need Empathy
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