The power of listening

When I was younger, my mum told me “You have two ears and one mouth and they should be used proportionately for maximum effect.” At the time, I thought proportionately was a rather big word, and it was only when I grew up did I realise the significance of what she was trying to say and even more recently, have come to understand the value and power of listening.

In Chayn’s upcoming Good Friend Guide, the value of this trait is even more prominent. Throughout the development of the guide, listening re-occurs as a powerful support mechanism in empowering those trying to leave abusive relationships.

As one in three women experiences violence, mostly from their partner, it is likely that these women could be someone you know — a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance, or a family member. By listening you will hear the most, sometimes it will mean listening intently both to what is being said, and also what is being left unsaid. For many survivors, just having someone listen to them is all they need to acknowledge and disclose the abuse faced by them and you can help with this process by honing your listening skills.

In this world of hyper-connectivity with social media, technology, stress, deadlines, and the prevailing sense of urgency that is thrust upon us, masking signals and snippets of communication, our listening skills need to ever more be in tune with the elements of what it is to be human.

Through listening intently as a friend, you can do amazing things. The ability to listen with both ears and a whole heart can be instrumental in empowering those who need it the most. Don’t underestimate the power it can have on to those who are experiencing domestic abuse.

When you listen with your brain, you are able to accurately parrot back what has been said. But when you also listen with your heart, you are able to sense the emotional content of the story.

Reflective listening involves two key steps: seeking to understand what is being said, and then offering the idea back to confirm it has been understood correctly. Through this, you are offering a friend the space to be understood and heard and feel supported.

And remember, listening does not just end at the point of disclosure, it is a journey, as is being a good friend.

Stay tuned for CHAYN’s Good Friend Guide launching on Tuesday, May 23. It’s filled with useful information on how to best support those in an abusive relationship.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye out for it!

P.S. If you would like to use our content and make it inclusive for queer relationships — please do give us a shout on team@chayn.co! Our Supernova project is launching soon which addresses abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships and they would love a hand with writing content!