One of the secrets to conflict resolution is that forgiveness transforms the one who forgives in a way that opens new possibilities for all concerned. Once you release judgment through forgiveness you may be ready for the next step to healing relationships and resolving conflict—sacred listening.
Sacred listening is a way to engage another so they feel heard and respected. This in turn opens the way for you to authentically express your perspective in return. Together these two actions form the heart of authentic communication—which is the secret to resolving conflict and initiating interpersonal healing.
So what is sacred listening and how do you do it?
To practice sacred listening, set aside your own personal agenda and attend 100% to what the other person has to say. You can sit or stand at a comfortable angle to the other person at a distance that respects personal space and the type of relationship you have with them, but close enough that you engage their world. Make eye contact, smile, and ask the other person to tell you what is going on, especially on a feeling level. You could say, “I’d like to understand more about what you’re feeling right now.”
As the other person talks, listen intently and nod your head in support, without offering advice or giving your perspective. No matter how much insight you have to share, save it, and allow the other person to fully express themselves and discover their own insight.
Listen for the meaning underneath their words. Listen for what their soul wants to express. You can mirror back to the other person what you hear for confirmation. For example, “So are you saying that _________?”
Even if they ask for your advice, encourage them to continue with they have to say. You could say something like, “Would you tell me more about________?”
Listen until the other person has been able to fully express their perspective and/or arrive at a personal insight. You may sense that point by a relaxation in their energy or a sense of completion.
Finish by thanking the other person for sharing their feelings with you. As they acknowledge your thanks, you are ready for the next step in authentic communication.