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Heartfelt Listening Diffuses Power Struggles

young boy with a dog

We recently brought a new puppy, Aurelia, into our family. Aurelia is a blessing and brings us all SO much joy!  However, she also has created a little tension for my youngest son. She LOVES her human brother so much that she treats him like one of her littermates and gets SUPER excited when he comes into the room. He, on the other hand, doesn’t always appreciate her enthusiasm when his ankles become her favorite chew toy. 

Under the advice of a trainer, I have been trying to help their dynamic by coaching my son with ways to redirect her and shift her focus so that he doesn’t feel so frustrated with her. Recently while coaching him on how to engage with the puppy, I realized that I was trying to “win”– to be correct – and so was he. OOPS! Once I recognized that we were in a power struggle, I knew I needed to tap into the Connecting Skill of Heartfelt Listening. When I am listening from my heart, my need to be right melts away. I could hear his frustration, which is all he was trying to communicate. He wasn’t looking for solutions. He wanted to share that he hadn’t slept well and wasn’t in the mood to be around a yippy puppy. He wanted a safe space to be authentic with his mom. 

How many times have we found ourselves not listening with our heart but listening with our filter? If you find yourself in a conversation where each person is trying to win, I invite you to pause and try the Heartfelt Listening Skill. Simply hearing the other person, with your heart, can be enough to diffuse the situation and shift our perspective to see the other person’s point of view. That brings a win to all of us. 

With resilience,