Listen with Respect So You Can Reflect
Make the choice to look within. Tune yourself to make observations while you listen. To do this well engage your curiosity with a new approach that reflects respect for yourself and others. Begin by observing and making yourself aware of your inner dialogue and especially what your inner critic may be focused on at this time. Your inner critic is the part of you that points out “what is wrong” or “what you do not prefer”.
Next, observe what is taking place around you. Remain observational while others speak. Observing and listening in this way is a bit like playing a balancing game. Imagine yourself spinning two plates, one in each hand, all the while you are holding up one foot. For those who like a good challenge, this may be energizing.
Connect New Perspectives
As you listen with a commitment to be more observational you can be more open to connecting with empathy. This will help you discover remarkable, new insights about your responses and reactions. For example, notice what brings up more potent emotions, gets you fired up, or causes defensiveness. It’s especially key to make space and “Cause the Pause” when your inner critic amplifies. Remain observational as you learn to reflect with respect and manage your inner dialogue. Balancing yourself with steady kindness and an observational perspective strengthens your ability to model effective leadership. This also expands the resilience necessary for balancing ongoing change.
Create Growth Opportunities
Make a commitment to apply empathy within your communication. This includes giving yourself compassion, especially when your inner critic is at work. This can be challenging because of its intensity, persistence, and demands for safety. Our inner critics are wired for “flight or fight”, believing their job is to continuously react and plan for perceived threats. It connects our thinking in ways that harshly edit, criticize, and judge others as well as ourselves. Unfortunately, it does this very well, which is why it needs re-direction and self-leadership.
Make the decision to grow an empathetic relationship with your inner critic. Be compassionate yet set real boundaries with your critical voice. Growing self-awareness in this way will help you “cause the pause” and redirect your focus. Remember you can always be more creative and turn towards your authentic values.