The Gift of Listening
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Ok, let’s admit it.
We get on the phone with friends and family. Whilst we are cooking, driving, shopping and sometimes while working too. How much time do we spend together in real life? How much time do we spend with them on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram instead?
It seems to me, that the whole World is going into a shallowness of communication. Communication technology has progressed.
I mean it! If I look at my interpersonal relationships; including the sporadic love affairs I have had in the last few years, they have all gone bonkers due to WhatsApp.
Why? I don’t know all of you. But for me, sometimes hiding behind my mobile, I can say things that I would never say face to face. Sometimes, I think I can read the tone in a phrase and I misunderstand, misinterpret things. Mainly because I read the message quickly or without proper attention .
At other times, I feel myself let down by my relationships too. Because Facebook and WhatsApp, friends and family think this is enough for a relationship. I would love the phone to ring unexpectedly like the old days. Having a chat and a laugh on a more personal level.
Deep down, even the most irritable attributes of our relationships are a reflection of the relationship we have with our self.
Just pause and think about that.
Good communication skills start from listening with attention. Putting ourselves into each other’s shoes: feeling their emotions without the need to comment, interrupt or to judge until the other one has stopped talking.
It is only from this starting point that it is possible to establish solid relationships, both on a personal and a professional level.
However, to be a good listener is not easy at all!
How to Practice Conscious Listening
1. We need to be aware of it.
I asked myself, if I have been a good listener in my past relationships. To be totally frank, I haven't. Some would reply, I still am. My excuses are many: for example, English is not my first language. When there are challenging public conversations, my mind simply wonders off. Dreaming about all sort of things: I could organise trips and vacations, repeat endlessly past conversations with myself, make shopping lists and of wishes.
I am glad my English has improved. However, I still get lost in translation.
If I am bored of a certain conversation or not interested, I think this is legitimate and acceptable. Listening to endless conversations with no meaning or someone moaning too much is exhausting.
The line between personal freedom and respect for others, is always the best approach for me.
What about you? Have you been and are you a good listener?
Now, if you think you are, you may go through this list and tick the boxes. But, if you have a shadow of a doubt that you could give that conversation more attention, continue reading.
2. Start to Practice Active Listening.
The most important thing is to start to listen to yourself.
Which things enfuse you? What excites you with a sparkling creative energy? What are your remote wishes and your deepest fears? The more we know about ourselves, the more we can tune in with others and understand their feelings. We have all the same human conditions, after all.
3. Establish Connection.
When we perceive there is going to be a deeper conversation. Let’s stop what we are doing, look into their eyes and physically connect with them. This is a non-verbal communication that’s inviting the person to express themselves. By doing this we let them know that we are present and ready to listen.
4. How to Listen
Do not interrupt, please.
Be interested in them. They are your family, best friends, neighbours, teachers and they want to be listened to.
Put down your mobile.
To be listened, regardless in agreement or disagreement, is such a great gift to receive.
I am lucky enough to have people in my life, that make me feel that way. Listening to my feelings, opinions and worries, ultimately makes me loved and accepted for who I am.
Nevertheless, to give and receive are intercorrelated. When we receive this quality of attention and we are aware of it, we want to give back the same to the others in our life.
Likewise, this profound awareness like circumcentres circles in the water, it expands creating a ripple effect.