On the 28th of February, Helen and I talked about listening.
The biggest problem with listening in communication is that we think we are doing it. But often we are not. Well… not really.
While someone else is talking, our minds might be busy preparing the story that we are going to tell as soon as we get a chance, or they might have wandered off to follow entirely different threads of thought, or be busy interpreting what is being said through our own experiences.
Now hang on a minute – isn’t it entirely human to interpret and understand our world through our experiences?
Yes it is.
But, if we want to truly give someone the gift of being listened to, we will do this best by intentionally placing our focus on exactly what it is that the person is saying; and mindfully dismissing those other thoughts and interpretations of our own.
The other will feel more deeply listened to. And being deeply listened to is like cool water to our innermost being. It is like salve to the soul.
And if, after listening, we ask the person a question which arises from what we just listened to, the salve thickens. So listen again. Then ask again – the question inspired only from what was just shared. Then listen again. Then ask again. And keep going.
It is the gift of being listened to. And it is the gift of listening.
It is a reciprocal gift.
For in deeply listening to another, one will often experience a shift in the depth of respect and connection with that person. And surprisingly, without even had a thought about one’s own experiences, one will have learned more about oneself.
Give it a whirl.