What does listening mean to you?
Listening is a form of communication. We do not only listen with our ears, our other senses play a big part in our communication skills in some way or another.
What does it mean when someone says you are not listening to me? Is it that we are not paying attention to what they are saying or not really interested in what they are saying or get distracted by the static all around them or could it be that the listener has already formulated their own perception about the subject and does not really need to listen more about it?
Ears are one of the senses that we use as a human being and our ears are precious to us. It is amazing the way people listen. Sometimes we take our ears for granted and we are selective in hearing things, selective in how we listen.
My son always say to me are you listening to me, please focus on what I am saying and are you paying attention.
If I can be truly honest with my son, I am listening, it is just I get distracted with all the information that is coming and my brain is processing it all at the same time. It is easier if I sit and talk or when I walk I look at him, to stay focused and I look at where I am walking instead of looking at the shops and people around me. When walking, listening and talking, the human brain can only focus on bits of information, because the senses are taking in all the information that is happening around them, and can cause information overload. It is OK to ask someone to repeat themselves.
In my job, I have been taught to listen to instructions and repeat the instructions, so that both understand what is required. This ensures that both know what needs to be done and any clarification is dealt with before the work commences, this creates efficiency.
You can apply this form of communication in any relationship as well. The one person listens and the other person clarifies how they perceived the conversation. If this is not correct, then more clarification, explaining and repeating their perception is communicated. This can carry on, until both parties agree their understanding of the situation. It might seem that this is an effort; I perceive it as, until we are in the other person shoes, we might not be able to understand the situation fully. So it is best to communicate and clarify your perceived understanding of the conversation before jumping to conclusions through your past experiences.
Why we listen and communicate, is because we learn from people, we build relationships. We are fully focused and present.
Remember, when we start being present, and listen to people, we learn to listen to our hearts, our body and our environment. We experience life more and start growing in areas that we have not experienced before.
Therefore, listen, make a conscious decision to stay focused and if you feel you are getting distracted pull yourself back to the conversation at present.
You owe it to yourself and others to listen and grow and experience more of life.
Life and Health Coach