Listening With Your Heart



I’ve always had a problem with listening with my ears instead of my heart, when the moment warrants it.

Maybe it’s another limitation of my male biology but I tend to keep other people’s words, especially Lisa’s bouncing around in my ears as the computer immediately tries to process a clever answer, some quick fix solution, or a spiritual scripture that I think will help.

The problem with listening with my ears, is inevitably whatever comes out of my mouth as a response is unhelpful, insensitive or preachy.

It takes more time for me to listen with my heart.

I have to shut off whatever I am doing, whatever ambitions, goals, crises or to do list items I am processing in between my ears, and open up the emotional hatch that lets the words of another person who is talking settle down into my heart.

Women are instinctive heart listeners.

Especially Lisa.

She has always had an uncanny ability to touch people’s hearts, because she is is so connected to what people are feeling, rather than what they are saying.

Listening with my heart requires that I open myself up to something deeper than the words coming out of Lisa’s mouth.

Her words may sound angry in my head, her crying may seem irrational given the circumstances, but it’s the feelings that motivate those sounds that require the most attentive type of listening to truly provide some sort of meaningful support.

Walking in someone else’s shoes is one cliche’d expression I often hear when someone is giving advice about how to be more empathetic.

True heart listening requires a commitment to not just walking in her shoes, but crying her tears, seeing her fears through my own eyes, leaving my own experiences and preconceived notions behind, and truly connecting to the heart of the person I know is my soulmate.

It is difficult for me to let down my guard that much, because I risk the possibility that I will see that I contribute to something that is upsetting her, and I will have to fight the urge to defend why I said that, did that, or didn’t say that or didn’t do that.

The challenge is always not to bring it back to ‘me.’  Once I do that, I’m back in my little egocentric head where empathy is far away.

Infertility required me grow my heart listening skills.

So often the swirling storm of emotions that made perfect sense for Lisa to be experiencing put in me into emergency planning mode.  I needed to have an escape plan, a plan of attack, a plan of rescue.

So much thinking, when often, all she wanted me to do was hold her.

Give her my shoulder, so her tears had a soft place to fall.

That’s a lesson I still struggle with to this day.

But it’s a struggle worth the effort.

Because in those moments when I am listening with my heart, the connection I have to Lisa reminds me that I have truly found my soulmate.








4 Responses to Listening With Your Heart

  1. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

    Infertility has forced me to grow my heart listening skills as well. As men, we are problem solvers and fixers. When my wife would come to me with a problem, my instinct was to give her advice or try to solve the problem. There were many times that I think of now, and I am ashamed I did not listen with my heart. Being male and infertile, I have definitely become more empathetic. I feel like I am a better husband now. One way I cope with my condition is to work on my marriage. I may not have a child, but I do have a wife I am more deliberate and purposeful about my marriage. I find and analyze ways to make it better. I am more in love with my wife than ever. I feel more attracted to her. I learned not to take her for granted.

  2. By the way, I voted for you. I hope you win the RESOLVE Award for best blog. We need more men speaking out on infertility (and male infertility in particular). Sometimes I think guys like us a few and far between.

    • I can only hope there will be more of us speaking out in the future. Imagine the how loud the voice of infertility support and advocacy could be if both men and women would speak out…we’d have twice the impact on shaping family building policy, tearing down the stigmas surrounding infertility, and expand awareness of infertility much faster. At least there’s two of us !

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