Listening As Opposed To Hearing

Everyone’s got something to say, everyone is geared up prepped with some reason or other why the next person is in the wrong. But, how often do we simply sit there and open up the doors of communication in order to simply hear someone out. Not in order to form a response, not a means to prove something. Simply for the sake of listening. This week on the blog, we share why we need to workout our listening muscle and find ways to be fully present in our conversations. Have a read!

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Weil

I am a talker. I can do it till I’m blue in the face and would probably soldier on even still. But, I can safely say that in my younger days, I wasn’t a very good listener. I would listen simply to respond or rebut, with no real deep thought being dedicated to what was being said, mainly because I didn’t want to be wrong. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ Trust me, I know, I blame the full on Sagittarius vibes. But over the years, I realized that sometimes staying silent can do you some good, it can keep you out of trouble, but it also provides some wonderful zen moments. Whether it’s because you don’t want to say the wrong thing or because you don’t want to drop a massive verbal bomb. Listening and I mean really LISTENING to what is being said and leaving space sometimes not to have an answer and not to have anything to add can be very important to the conversation. Which can sound somewhat odd, but just leaving space for the unknown and for things to unfold as they may believe is fundamental. A lot more space has to be left to simply listen.

I was recently having a conversation with Bae, we often have deep, philosophical type conversations- but this particular night we were having an intimate conversation about our worries and fears, in a quick moment, he sat up, adjusted himself and fully turned his body, open and engaged on what I was saying. The gesture was quick and probably something he won’t remember but it stuck with me. I have never had a partner who was so openly enraptured by what I was saying and was so willing to simply listen to me. It stunned me in some ways. I waited expectantly for him to interrupt or to minimize my feelings, but it never came. Of course, my overthinking mind stumbled and stuttered through what I was saying because I was very focused on the fact that I was given the floor without so much as a protest or needing to raise my voice. All that to say, listening, and I mean really listening to someone can be very intimate, but it shows the speaker something else- it shows them openness, lack of judgement and empathy. And I believe that through it all, what the world is in desperate need of is empathy. No one sees each other for who they are, no one tries to walk in others’ shoes, we are simply keyboard ready, in order to punch out a witty reply, that we don’t let it marinate a little more.

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.

Ralph G. Nichols

All that to say, lately I have been working on sitting in the silences a lot more, almost forcing myself not to add anything to conversations just letting the speaker be able to articulate how they feel without the need to head a reply from me. It has been somewhat of an ease, because my reply is much more natural and authentic and I’m not filling the space simply to do so. It’s given with thought and consideration and at the end of the day- isn’t that what we all want?