Keeping the lines of communication is critical, but I find there is a second component to communicating. You have to be a good listener. I don’t have the greatest hearing and more times than not, I find myself asking someone to repeat themselves. Hearing is my problem child.
I have always known that there is more to hearing than taking in the sounds that pass through your ears. The second prong is being a good listener. Over the years I’ve heard people say things such as “lean in” so they know you are interested, “nod” so they know you are on the same page with them, or they ask you to make eye contact. There seemed to be a lot of facets to listening. I put most of those nuggets into practice, and I thought I was a good listener.
I swallowed hard one day when I heard someone make a comment that people listen with the intent of replying and not learning. If ever I was guilty of something, it was listening with the intent of answering. It wasn’t that I felt my response would be earth-shattering or enlightening; it was more like I wanted to mentally prepare my position on what was said so I wouldn’t look like a deer in the headlights if asked. I had an added habit of interrupting because I was afraid of losing my thought if we got too far into the conversation.
Then it hit me. Would losing my view be so bad? Just like when I meditate, thoughts fly through at an alarming rate; does that mean I need to grab them and share them the second they happen? Did I need to share them at all? I ignore them when I meditate so why do I feel the need to make my thoughts known during a conversation? Isn’t it better to let it go and stay focused on what is being said? If it comes back, it was meant to be; if it doesn’t, c’est la vie.
How do you actively listen? I would love some hints.