Listening is an essential tool in all areas of your life and when you are not listening, even to the non-verbal that may be expressed to you, you are separating yourself from those that love you, including family, fellow students, co-workers, friends.
Your day is filled with so much rush that you tend to miss some of the greatest and most inspiring words that offer you the opportunity to respond with empathy and kindness. When you are truly listening, what you are doing is preparing your Self to respond, regardless if the other person is telling how their day was or offering needed advice. It is essential to communicate and speak to others to reach clarification of your thoughts, and feelings. What we witness is the preoccupation with the need to keep up with the busyness that is going around you and while you are going about in the rush of everything, you are not truly giving of yourself and not always being mindful of others.
It is hard to be always mindful of your Self and others, but it is not impossible. All you need to do is slow down, observe without talking and learn from what you see and hear. When you tune-in to listen to what another is saying, do not listen out of mere obligation where you will feel you are required to respond. Truly listen with the purity of heart with the action that you really want to help even if the help is only to listen. I see many confused as to why they may feel their life is empty, and then they discover ways to distract themselves through expensive entertainment instead of taking the time for conversation.
Certainly, it does require time and a little effort to effectively listen. Learning how to listen objectively requires commitment to consciously be more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, spoken and written words. Learning to listen instead of reacting will require you to be patient with yourself. Be prepared for some people not taking kindly to the development of this important skill but persevere and to continue bringing this skill into a useful and effective tool for everyday communication. When you have successfully mastered this skill, you will discover it is more than a skill for communication but an art for expression and provides you with an astounding amount of self-fulfillment as you are learning to give and receive simultaneously.
When you consciously choose to listen to who is talking to you, you are provided with the opportunity to share with this individual, possibly alert them that you have not heard what they are saying, or that you lack understanding instead of giving negative body signals that many choose to do; instead of looking away and not making eye contact or if you are not face-to-face the person on the other end can clearly tell if you are not following and show disinterest. When someone has chosen you to talk to and you give the impression of not being wanting to engage or your reactions describe you as being bored also creates a negative response in other areas of your life.
Listening is especially important, and we know each of you want to be heard by someone who is compassionate and understanding. When you are heard, your confidence increases, and you become stronger because you are being accepted into this person’s life even if it is for a few precious moments. It does not take much for anyone to sense they are being rejected by a listener they have chosen to share with, even if that rejection comes from an unreturned message, the energy is still there. I know many of you think you listen well.
But I ask you to think back to a time when you had something wonderful to share and there was no one available because they were too busy.
There are many that do not have a good support system, so when they choose to share wonderful news and no one is there, the heaviness of this feeling can be quite detrimental. Each of us requires a need to share, to open with another and to be heard. What I see to be most painful is a turning to someone they respect, and feel would understand, and this individual half-heartedly listens or behaves in a distracted manner. The one seeking communication often leaves feeling unsatisfied and feelings of regret can easily filter in creating emotional upset.
There are two main characteristics to effective and active listening. One is to gain knowledge while the other is demonstrating that you are completely available to the one that has chosen to share with you. It is critically important to refrain from turning the conversation to yourself and to just listen. When the one that has chosen you to share with you through conversation and you listen with pure sincerity, you are providing motivation to both of you. It is not difficult to see why this may motivate you if you are the listener – knowing you are appreciated is an incredible feeling.
Not listening effectively becomes habit forming and will continue to invade your relationships if change does not occur. I have seen many relationships dematerialize just because of non-listening. Relationships of all kinds that are to succeed require communication and part of that communication is listening, learning how to respond with compassion and sincerity instead of snapping or biting the other individual with cutting words. When you add love much more can be resolved.
Human contact carries with it the important feeling of being accepted and heard by those closest to you. I have witnessed many engaging in wonderful conversations and when the talk is over, a great feeling of satisfaction fills your whole being. When communication has been this satisfactory, you have an Inner Knowing that your needs at this moment have been met, the other person was not trying to compete with what you were talking about; they were listening and conversing pleasantly with kindness and sincerity. To truly listen to another, it does require a certain amount of courage from the one who has become listener.
It is well understood that any misunderstanding that may result from conversations can easily become healed when you allow yourself to really understand the deeper meaning of what is being expressed. Your ability to listen changes the shape of how you see others and yourself, it increases the connection you have with all who are involved and raises your own level of understanding. When you are engaged in vocal interactions with others, the definition of your Self becomes more developed and visible. When you are relating to others by talking and listening, you are in a way creating a balance between all that is involved.
Effective listening is an essential key to all relationships and will help develop healthier relationships with your Self and with others even after the conversation is over. Understand the experience you feel from the inside of every interaction is created by what others accept from what they say or from their actions. Learning to disengage from inappropriate statements or reacting in a negative manner can save a lot of unnecessary turmoil and upset.
Words cannot be retracted, once they are out, there is no eraser or backspace button to undo what was said. Listening and speaking with kindness is a much more amiable and Lighter filled way to be. Comprehend; at birth, your Self was not entirely identifiable. Over time this is constructed from how you hear and react through simple responses. As an infant, the mother understands her baby’s needs from a response or reaction – this is learned by the mother who is listening and being observant for the slightest of sound or movement and the baby in turn learns to respond to the mother in the same manner. At that early age, the infant knows it is being understood.
In your normal connections within relationships, you have learned how to decipher certain body language signals and from this observance you can easily assign necessary meaning to them that help you understand what is happening. Even when a sigh is expressed, you notice this and may ask, “What is troubling you?” Being observant of signals is an important aspect of listening. Learning to respond appropriately does require patience and effort. Being a good listener requires you to be focused and involved and not allowing any amount of self-doubt to occur during the communicative interaction. Being chosen to listen is a gift it shows trust, faith, and hope from the one who has chosen to share with you.
It is important to develop the skill to validate what you have heard from the words expressed. It is okay to repeat back what the person told you just to make sure you heard correctly. When you do this, you are demonstrating that you are listening and exploring further understanding if necessary. Sometimes you may have to attune yourself to the other person’s feelings and this encourages the one who has chosen you to share with to continue with their interaction and communication with you. As your skill to listen further develops, so does your confidence.
When you are more confident you will trust your own Self more with appropriate responses when someone has decided it is you they wish to share with. Mutual understanding while relating to others enhances the experience that is simple but provides all that is involved with so much information that is valuable to learning more of your own Self. By lending an empathic ear, you are relaying to others that you care, and they are important to you. You will listen without being judgmental or critical. It is important to develop a sense of security between you and the one who is sharing with you.
Remember, listening and being listened to will improve a great deal of your everyday life – you will experience an improvement on your own attitude and your physical vitality will be noticeably increased. Take the time to hear what is being said. Discover endless possibilities appear when you engage in stimulating conversation that requires active and attentive listening on all that is involved. Replace words and expressions that hurt, with words and expressions that speak of love and compassion.