We all have someone (or ones) in our life that we value for being a good listener. Someone who always makes you feel heard because they remember comments you made in the past or let you vent when you were working through frustration. It's a characteristic that is highly valued in our lives but do we do the same? Would you say you are a good listener? Is that characteristic something you actively practice or work towards?
Every day we are bombarded with noise, information, conversation, and tasks that it becomes natural for us to tune most of it out to function through our day. But has this become too much of ourselves?
Many times we have watched people talk at each other. And we me talk AT each other. Pseudo listening instead of active. What is the difference? Pseudo listening: is pretending to listen but not really absorbing anything from the conversation. Active listening: requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.
Honestly ask yourself- how do you listen? Are you actively listening to your co-worker when they talk about their weekend? Or your friend when they talk about the things going on in their lives? Or is it pseudo?
Perfect example: you're at your local coffee shop to order your drink. When you step up to the counter, did you actually hear what the barista said? Or did you jump right into giving your order and close the sale? How often do we ignore what the person in front of us is actually saying and instead assume?
We miss opportunity when we don't listen. We miss cries for help. We miss expressions of love. We miss lessons being shared and vulnerabilities being exposed. We miss the opportunity to learn and connect.
Everyone does it and we all need to do better. We all need to be present in moments and LISTEN to whats being said. Too many times misunderstandings occur because we didn't do our job in being active in our listening. Our society bases so much on communication, but it's not just about what we say but also how we hear what's being said. We can't pass on the responsibility of a failed conversation because we didn't listen to what the other person said. That's on us.
Test yourself. When you order your next coffee, listen to what the barista asks you. Next time you are chatting with a co-worker, listen to what they actually say. When you see that friend who is going through something, listen to what they are sharing. When we pay attention and focus, we notice so much more. We become present in our relationships. We connect and become the friend people can count on when they need to be heard. We become the 'good listener,' and that's a pretty special position to be in.
Thanks for reading amigos, stay tuned for DAY SEVEN of our 29 Days of Self-Care Series!