Wellness Matters 20.08.2021
Are You Good at Listening?
Do you ever feel like no-one is really listening to you?
You know the scenario: you've arranged to meet with a good friend or family member and you have been saving up some good chat which is yours to share, certainly not suitable for social media, and you are hoping for the opportunity to try to work out how you are going to move away from or towards your end goal. You expect that your friend will listen and respond appropriately.
The day arrives, whether it’s via Zoom or in person, and you are full to bursting but graciously allow them to talk first. You actively listen and respond with empathy, supporting them unconditionally. You ask meaningful questions or hold the silence while they work through their storyline. You are engaged and present for them.
You willingly hold back until they invite you to share, but you barely get two words out and they have cut across you, making a comparison that isn’t valid or viable and you realise that they are still caught up in their own dilemma and not really able to be present. You wait and you try again during a comfortable pause, but once again you witness that your friend has too many internal and external distractions going on for them and so your story won’t be shared in the way that will help you move forwards.
You become slightly distant, physically and metaphorically, knowing that the issue you were trying to share has been lost and cannot be retrieved. You love your friend, of course, but feel slightly let down, because you had specifically asked for their input.
Listening is a skill. Actively listening requires insight, patience, empathy and connection.
Think about your friends and family and ask yourself if you really listen or just pick out the bits you hear that correspond with something you want to say. Actually, is it, in fact, so that you can hear your own voice again?
It’s hard not to interrupt, it's even harder not to be the ‘sage on the stage’, but by actively listening you can connect with so many more people on intellectual and emotional levels that you might not have found possible, even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint.
Try it this weekend and over the next few days. Ask ‘and what else’, allow thinking time and just see what turns up!
And remember this is what I do - and I do it very well. So if you have a conundrum that needs a listening ear, you know where to find me.
Have a wonderful weekend, I fully intend to.