Listening isn't just an act, is a mindset. We're used to listening to music or to other people, but you can listen to anything. You can listen to yourself, to the world, and even to silence. Listening to silence is called meditation.
The essence of listening is simply not talking. Not just talking out loud, but even talking to yourself. When you listen to a person and talk at the same time, whether judging or figuring out what's wrong with what they're saying, you can really only hear yourself. The best you can hope for is to get a version of the truth that's mixed up with your preconceptions and ideas. That's not very good.
When you listen you get a new perspective. In the same way that you can view a sculpture from different vantage points, you can look at a situation, or more generally, reality, from different perspectives and see new things. In the case of listening, the new perspective doesn't come from getting something new, but subtracting. Subtracting your preconceptions and usual dialogue about a problem or situation. Listening makes room for me insights into a situation, another person, and often, yourself.
You don't just listen with your ears; you listen with your whole body. You listen with questions rather than answers. With silence rather than speech. With gentleness rather than cynicism. When you listen you find room to accept and even appreciate and the capacity to experience love and forgiveness without any pretensions.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
|Kind of a drastic way in his case, but it worked I guess|
I am feeling very hurt by my ex boyfriend. I am 22 years old. He is 33 years old. We were friends before we started dating, in October of last year. Everything was great because we were already so comfortable with each other. In January, he broke up with me for the first time..after our first real fight over something stupid. A week later, feeling desperate and lonely, i texted him saying i forgave him and let's be friends. He wanted to see me later that night...and the cycle began! We slept together and started dating again. Ever since then, it has been an emotional rollercoaster!! He breaks up with me because he does not know what he wants and after a fight, and the break ups get longer each time. It is almost as if I AM BEING PUNISHED EACH TIME. But I am an idiot, because I take him back.
I am feeling crazy and insecure at this point. I hate the person i have become. Please help me with what to do. I feel like because of him, I am forever damaged. I am petrified to get into another relationship because of him. He makes me feel like I am not beautiful anymore because we're through. I think he does this on purpose.
LET'S START WITH making sense of what's happening with him and with your relationship. I think he's a very emotional guy. When he's not with you, his emotions erupt and he thinks about you as his perfect match. But after you reunite, everything flips and he thinks about all the things that make you incompatible. You're both his angel and his demon. Why he flips? I don't think it's a simple answer, but I think he probably lacks self-esteem and self-connection and prematurely idealizes others so that he can feel something other than emptiness and self-hatred. But that's followed by devaluation because the idealization is ultimately an illusion built on imagined intimacy. It's like flying really high with faulty wings; you're eventually going to crash really hard.
He takes you on the emotional ride that he goes on--highs and lows--and in the end, leaves you feeling rejected and unworthy of love, which makes you somewhat vulnerable to the same type of behavior he exhibits because they're both rooted in a deep self-rejection.
Now we get to you. Part of dating, and life, truth be told, involves knowing when you walk away from something bad and knowing what you deserve. You should have walked away after he first broke up with you. If someone doesn't want to be with you, fuck them (figuratively). Don't fall into the trap of reuniting and fucking them (literally) because it sends a message, both to him and to you, that it's fine to treat you that way because you're not the kind of person who needs to be treated well. You gave him permission. So in a way you're both responsible for eroding your self-esteem. He pushed it, but you let it slide.
The question is how to move forward. Well, for one thing, you need to identify where your boundaries are. When you don't feel like you're being treated with integrity, hold the line: speak up, set a boundary, and if that person can't honor it, walk the fuck away. If they over-complicate things and make elaborate arguments, just leave and say you're not going to wait for them to figure out how to treat you, and that someone else out there already knows how. Second, and more importantly, you need to dial into what makes you respect and even love yourself. What are those qualities? What makes you a good person? Not in a religious or philosophical way, just a good person. Someone who cares, listens, helps, reflects, contributes joy and wisdom to the world rather than friction and conflict. Concentrate on those qualities and keep them close to you so you can start to rebuild your own self-respect. The boundaries are just a way to protect that once you realize how precious it is in the big picture.
Good related post here.