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Article updated 2018
Men need to be listened to as well. Common sense, right? Just not so common in action for us women.
As women sometimes it’s in our nature to just go up to a man and try and make certain that he hears what we’re feeling and hears our words even if we repeat the same thing over and over again using different words. In the end, after we’re done, he doesn’t feel listened to at all.
Then, if he complains that he doesn’t feel listened to, he runs the risk of us seeing him as less of a man. This starts a cycle of isolation for the man. (Click to complete the quiz “Am I Dating a Commitment Friendly Man?”)
It took me a few tries to get what the difference between listening and NOT talking is. I thought that, if somebody told me I wasn’t listening, then to solve that problem, all I’d need to do is STOP TALKING. Wow, was I wrong. (read my article on how to respect a man)
Instead of not talking, I discovered what listening actually is:
Listening = actually caring enough to switch from selfish to compassionate.
Not talking and compassionate are two very different things.
As such, describing listening with the word listening doesn’t do it justice. What I think we really mean when we want to be listened to is that we want another person to be compassionate towards us.
A new word for listening – Compassioning.
Even if you stop talking, the other person can nonetheless feel if you are not actually listening (compassioning; it’s a new word I’ve personally given to listening).
If a man says to you: “You’re not listening to me!” and you respond with “I AM listening!” you’re actually not listening at all.
If a man says to you: “You are not listening to me! I’m not being listened to!” and you go silent and think listening means shutting up, you are not listening.
Here is more on what listening is, as I have discovered:
Listening is when, a man says:
“I don’t think you respect me!” “I don’t feel like you care about me!” or “You never appreciate what I do!”
That you HEAR HIM. Not his words. HIM.
And instead of saying: “GOSH! I DO RESPECT YOU??! What more do you want!” or “What! How can you say I don’t care about you?! Where did you get that idea from!?” or “WHAT?? Even after everything I have done for you, you think I don’t CARE?!”
Listening is when – you say from a genuine place….”yeah, I know. I know.” with genuine compassion. (By the way, compassion isn’t felt by other people in your words. Compassion is felt when you are compassionate.)
Another example of listening….When he’s intense and curt or acting like a boy and you say “Gosh that’s an awful way to feel. Especially about the person who is supposed to care the most about you!” Or “I’m so sorry that you feel that way. That must feel awful.”
Or “that must be really frustrating.”
If you can say these things…you are suddenly on a man’s side. He will go “Ah. Finally. A woman of value. A woman who GETS me.”
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Believe it or not, I’ve found that most women are far better at talking than they are at listening to men. ESPECIALLY to a man where women have the most fear, and also the most criticisms of men. We just THINK we’re listening, when in fact, he doesn’t feel listened to. (read my article on how to talk to a man)
Here’s a measure I use on myself to see if I’m actually listening:
If you are justifying to him how mush you ARE listening, you aren’t listening. Because if you’re listening, you don’t even notice the need to justify or calculate it.
If at any moment, the words coming out of your mouth are defending YOUR intentions, or your actions, or your position, you are sure as hell not listening and a man sure as hell doesn’t feel listened to.
Here’s what I learned from starting off as a really, really bad listener: If you have to defend yourself and say “I am not like that” when he tells you how he feels about you or something you did, you’ve created a battle between you both. You’re under the illusion that he wants to fight you. When, he doesn’t. Nobody ever really wants to fight you. A man is either calling out to you, or giving you a loving communication.
What I taught myself over the years is that unqualified, unconditional listening means listening, even when that person is blaming you. Even when he seems angry at you.
I’d like to think I’ve been 100% successful at listening yet, but I don’t think I can say that’s true. It is something I strive to do, though. And it is important to me.
Listening is simply something you do because you love to give, and listening is something you do with your BODY, your heart, and most of all, your unconditional compassion. Not because the other person will give you something you want for appearing to listen to them.
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