Day 3 - Sacred Buddies >> Confessing / Active listening
Listen like you are studying for a buddy exam!
The core principles of listening are, in their most simple form:
Get your partner’s world. Get right in there. You are trying to see through their eyes.
Engage in ACTIVE listening as per day 1!
Take moments out to reflect back what you think you are hearing. MIRROR back
Create a bridge between your worlds by sharing any impact their share may have had on you. This also requires deep listening to SELF.
Our opinion isn’t always helpful, our job is NOT to fix. Ask questions instead of projecting our stuff on our partner.
More on this in a bit.
Core human needs in relating are
Self expression that comes from the truest part of ourselves
Healthy attachment and connection
And what prevents us from getting both of those needs met is that so often in life we have traded one for the other - we learned early on to trade our truest self expression for connection. As children we all learned strategies to get love and we all learned what would cut us off from connection.
What this tool gives us
It can help heal some of these wounds and programming so that we can communicate with the relief of TRUTH knowing we will be accepted by our buddy (at the very least) and let that truth start to shine out to all our relating.
Helps you stay true to you.
Makes us feel supported unconditionally. We are ok. As we are. The more we repeat this, the deeper the grooves of this realisation are. We know through research on the brain that if we keep relating out of integrity our brain will just keep making deeper grooves that don’t feel good, don’t help us feel connected. We re-wire our brain through repeated and specific practices. With these tools we can build trust and truth = new neural pathways!
The tool >> Dialogue
We all have our ways to protect and shield ourselves, skills learnt early on in childhood, a blueprint that is carried around. They were set to keep us ‘safe’ and they come up automatically when we feel threatened - but as adults, so many of the threats we felt in our very core are no longer relevant - Like, if we aren’t held and loved every day, we will starve and die. Likely, we could just go feed and comfort ourselves and that’s the worst case scenario.
As we mature, these walls can prevent us from truly connecting to the other people in our lives.
Often when we attempt to talk about this stuff, our walls get thicker and stronger. We are often not received in a way that feels safe enough for us to bare all. We are rarely taught how to communicate in a way that feels nourishing and safe, where both sides feel heard. But it’s vital to human relationship that we know these skills.
This dialogue is shared with great respect to and gratitude for Harville Hendrix, the founder of Imago Relationship Therapy.
The main premise is - most of us think that our story, our experience, is reality. The dialogue encourages us to ‘get inside someone else’s world’ - the essence of empathy - and release the idea that our story is what is definitively true.
We believe that the essence of partnership and true relating is understanding that someone else’s reality is just as ‘real’ and valid as our own. And as we try to understand that reality, even if it’s VERy different to our own, we are able to connect more deeply
By following this template we move out of reactivity and assumption and into a place of true validation and empathy.
A great skill for us ALL in many different situations!
You will emerge from this practice feeling creative, heard, understood, given permission to feel how you feel and open to connection.
Buddy coaching script
Step 1: Mirroring
How to listen to your buddy without distorting their thoughts and feelings.
Tell your buddy the message you would like to share. The message should start with "I" and describe your feelings about whatever is up for you in life that you want to share
Your buddy then mirrors your message. Example: "You are feeling frustrated with your work colleague. Did I get it?"
If you feel your buddy didn't understand your message, explain again and have them mirror you until the message is received.
Complete the message. If you were heard accurately, your buddy says, "Is there more about that?" This helps you complete your feelings and prevents your buddy from responding to incomplete messages.
When the message is completed, your buddy then summarizes all of the message. (Example: "Let me see if I got that...")
They should check for accuracy with, "Did I get it all?"
When your message has been heard accurately, you can then move on to the next step.
Step 2: Validating
Why it's not enough just to listen to your buddy.
It's not enough just to listen, you must learn to pay close attention in order to understand your partner's truth. "It's not enough just to be heard," says Dr. Harville Hendrix, "It's 'Do you see that I'm not crazy?'"
In order to validate your message, your buddy needs to use the right language. He should use sentences like this: "You make sense because..." or "I can see what you're saying...." Using the phrase, "makes sense" may be helpful—it tells you that your buddy doesn't think your feelings are crazy.
Your buddy must make certain that you feel validated before moving on. If you do, move on to the next step.
Step 3: Empathizing
Once the feeling is expressed, it's time to put yourself in your buddy’s shoes.
The next big step in the dialoguing process is for your buddy to empathize with your expressed feelings. "Figure out the feeling, and go to that place with him or her," Dr. Hendrix says. "Step into that place with them and they will know you exist for them in that moment. That's a connection."
Your buddy can start the empathy exercise with a statement such as, "I can imagine that you might be feeling..." or "I can see you are feeling...."
Since it's impossible to know exactly what a person feels, your buddy should check for accuracy. He should ask "Is that what you're feeling?" If he didn't understand the feeling, you should readdress the message.
If you share new feelings with your buddy upon reiteration, they must mirror those feelings. (For example, "Is there more about that feeling?")
Once your buddy has gone through these steps you can swap over.
(There are very detailed scripts online if you want to use them in your relationships that have another stage to them however this simple outline is inspired by one posted on oprah.com that I have adjusted to fit the buddy model).
OK here’s the thing. The whole essence of buddy coaching is that we are not qualifying people with a psychology degree. we think everyone has the capacity to be good listeners and give empathy and space for the other person to unravel their protections and conditionings and get greater clarity on how they can thrive the most in life. BASICALLY - how to connect and communicate and support and love out.
The thing is, once we get into these ‘roles’ a lot of us will tend to start to give advice or ‘therapise’ the other and that’s NOT what we are here to do.
We have to remember that you may have a strong opinion around what somebody else wants or needs but you may not be clear around your own projections and transference.
Therapists have therapists and are observed regularly. they study for years. they hopefully know when they are transferring their own shit on someone else’s world. They have to because they go into very complex issues around childhood and wounding. coaches tend to be more opinionated but much less focus is on childhood and more on the present and future, although past wounding and patterning get addressed because - well, they affect our present don’t they.
SO some things to consider:
No go areas for you guys as BUDDY COACHES (even if you are qualified as a coach or therapist are:
Giving advice around actions to take in life.
Mirror. validate, empathize, listen intently and ask questions but DO NOT tell your buddy what they should do. you are not here for that.
Remember no-body is broken. you are not. your buddy is not. everything is an exploration. if you feel you have a strong opinion and feel you want to share it - you can say - my story about this is…. OR would you like to hear my opinion? it’s only my opinion and you do not have to act upon it.
Don’t go deeply into childhood wounds or deeply traumatic events - that is for therapy or you can bring them to our monthly calls. you may get out of your depth on that one. if your buddy wants to go into it it’ sup to you if you are available truly listen and use the mirroring validation and empathy tool.
ASK US in the group, forum or live calls if you feel stuck or unsure around how to navigate a topic that has charge to it - that’s what we are here for.