Today, I am walking through the park with my boyfriend and I realize that I have missed about the last 5 sentences he was saying because I was truly elsewhere in my mind. I turned to him and said “wait, stop, go back…what are you talking about? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening through, like the last five…”. He smiled and repeated his story, and basically after each sentence I had to repeat it back to him to make sure I was understanding what he was saying.
This cannot possibly be an improvement over my previous issue. BWAHAHAHA! There I am, saying to him “I wasn’t listening”. At least he laughed.
So we talked about it for a while…he suggested going the next step, at least with other people, which would be to more confidently use those “active listening skills” and thus make people feel like they’re really interesting to you, and that that’s why you’re asking all of those questions (and leave out the “I wasn’t listening to you” part, lol).
Times like this I have to remind myself that this is actually progress, after all. Before, I was a person who went to a mental health center because she was tired of living a lie, living a double life, and tired of working so hard to appear normal, trapped behind a smiling facade. Learning to converse like this is about freeing myself from that secrecy…it’s about participating rather than pretending to. And it really is about truly connecting to people and what they are saying and why. My technique is a little clunky right now (or I’m just way too comfortable with the boyfriend, lol)…but I’ll just keep working on it.