I Hear You Book Summary
Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Today I've got a great book to share with you that can potentially transform the quality of your relationships. It's called I hear you by Michael Sorensen. We all know how wonderful it feels when you can share your emotions and feel understood... I am the type of person that taught I don’t need other people to understand and validate my emotions. But recently something happened that I completely changed my mind about this. Okay so I am in college and as you know sometimes it can be overwhelming. We've been planning to go on a camping trip for more than three months but just a week before the trip I received this email from my advisor that I should prepare a set of slides for a presentation. This means a lot of hard work and that I will have to skip the camping. I felt terrible that I can't go camping and to make myself feel a little bit better, I pick up the phone and called one of my friends. I talk to him all the time but this time I was feeling really overwhelmed. I told him how I was feeling and he listened very carefully. But then he said something that made me feel even worse. He told me it's not a big deal and it could have been worse and that some people struggle even more and that you'll be okay. The moment he said these things I felt terrible and I taught him he doesn’t understand me at all. Then he did something that made me furious. He started giving me advice as if I don’t know what to do. You can be sure that I didn't hear even a single word of what he said. Then I started thinking about what just happened.
In this book, Michael says that whether we admit it or not, we all crave acceptance and appreciation from others. This is exactly what I was craving, subconsciously, when I called my friend but instead, he invalidated my emotions and then started giving me advice. I already knew how to handle the situation, I was just looking for someone to see and appreciate my struggle. I made a promise to myself and I decided to become a good listener. I used to think to be a good listener. You just need to make eye contact and carefully listen to what the other person is saying. This is very important but it turns out it only steps one. Listening to what the other person is saying is one of the most sincere forms of respect but to make the other person feel understood you need more than that. The most important thing in communication is hearing what is not said and that is the emotion behind the words. So the second step is to seek to understand the emotion. This means being a little bit more curious and asking questions like how do you feel about that or how that made you feel. This can help you identify the emotions. Or you can ask yourself how would I feel in the same situation. When you identify the emotion the next step is to validate the emotion. This is step three and it is the most critical step. Validation of emotions is a powerful tool to make people feel heard and understood and to be a good listener, you need to become a great validator. Validation simply means that you basically understand what the other person is feeling and then express in words that it is okay to feel that way. This is exactly what my friend failed to do. He just invalidated my emotion and I felt that he doesn't understand me. Instead, he could have said: that is so sad or I totally get why are you feeling that way or I can't even imagine how hard that must be for you. Or I'd be angry too. This shows that you understand what other person is feeling and that you are not judging them for feeling that and that it is perfectly okay to feel it.
John Gottman, a famous psychologist has invented a process that can predict if a relationship will be successful with 94 percent accuracy and it is completely based on how well couples can validate each other's emotions. It turns out that happily married couples validate each other's emotions more than 87 percent of the time but divorced couples validated only 30 percent of the time.
And finally, the last step is something that you should never do and that is offering unsolicited advice. When people share something, more often than not, they don’t want advice and all they want is validation. So it's better not to give any advice unless they ask for it. And even in that case, before giving any advice, Make sure to first understand and validate the other person's emotions. Otherwise, probably they will be deaf to what you are saying.
To summarize, in order to be a good listener first you need to listen very carefully to what the other person is saying. Then you need to identify the emotion that lies behind the words and finally validate that emotion by letting them know that it is okay to feel that. And the last point, don't give any unsolicited advice.
This four-step listening process can potentially transform the quality of your relationship. And like any other skill in life you get better, the more you practice it. So next time when someone is sharing a personal experience with you try to apply these steps and see what happens. This is helping me a lot and I am sure it can help you too. You can comment down below and let me know what happened or what you think about this book. Also don't forget to Like and Subscribe and I'll see you in the next video.