I’ve been thinking a lot about listening lately. It’s an art I used to do much better. Now that I’m older and wiser, it’s hard to listen to someone without the filters of experience and ‘been there, done that’, not to mention keeping my mouth shut and not sharing my self-perceived most-valuable wisdom.
But I know listening well can take me past the limits of my own wisdom, a wisdom defined by my own limited life, and spark new life through connection to others. So I’m thinking about ways to listen, and the ways in which we don’t listen.
The look on your face: you don’t just listen with your ears, you listen with your mind and eyes — and the look on your face. A listening face isn’t scowling or distracted. It’s focused and interested.
Move that body baby: if you’re truly taking in what you’re hearing, then your body is part of the party too. Actually, it’s unavoidable, and your body is the first one to speak up and let you know if you’re really into this conversation or not. If not, at least be aware so that you can convey politeness and respect, rather than complete disengagement or disingenuousness.
I don’t get it: If you’re really listening, then you’re really understanding. This means asking questions, clarifying and helping the conversation become one you can identify with…and all this without highjacking it. Well…good luck with that!
Deep Listening: It’s a thing now. But all it really means is that you’re giving yourself over to someone for a time. It’s what people do. There is no true friendship without deep listening.
Reflection: When you listen well to someone, you’re bound to reflect on it later and reach new levels or understanding of them, yourself, or the world.
That’s it for now…happy listening and more importantly, learning and loving.