We see it every day. Someone talking and another eager to interject their thoughts into the middle of the conversation. This is not listening. When you are thinking about your reply, you are not listening to understand the other person. A friend once told me, “When your mouth is open, your ears are closed.” This is the breeding ground for miscommunication.
At home, in the community, or in the workplace, think of how much richer the conversations would be if we all listened to understand. I am guilty at times as well, wanting to get my two cents worth in before the complete thought has been uttered.
I ran across the following piece a number of years ago, and thought it appropriate.
When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel the way I do, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen, all I asked you to do was listen, not talk, or do, just hear me. I’m not helpless…perhaps discouraged or faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.
But when you accept the fact that what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get on with understanding what’s behind the irrational feeling.
And, when that’s clear, the answers will be obvious, and I won’t need any advice.
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