Poor Listening Leads To Isolation and Lack Of Inspiration
For many of us, it is a challenge to listen to another person without formulating our own response. We seem to believe that our value to another person will increase if we can say something impressive. Though focusing on talking rather than listening leads to the following:
- interrupting others,
- pulling the conversation away from what they are talking about,
- missing learning opportunities,
- loss of respect.
Poor listeners appear to be uninspired, arrogant, and closed-minded. Most of us tend to avoid people who do not listen because they can make us feel uninspired. Poor listening skills can lead to loneliness and spiritual stagnation.
Good Listeners Are Connected, Intimate and Inspired
When we are in the presence of a strong listener, we feel important, connected and inspired. In turn, we want to spend more time with that person and become interested in listening to what they have to say, because we know that it resonates from real insight. A person with strong listening skills attracts and truly connects to people, never feels alone, feels inspired and inspires others.
When we take the time to listen to what someone has to say, we are more able to understand the true meaning they are trying to convey. We learn about them, and are able to gain knowledge and wisdom conveyed. Listening is an essential component to intimacy and inspiration.
How To Be a Good Listener
Start with these simple activities:
- Instead of thinking of what you want to say, think about what you want to ask.
- Notice the tone, volume and speed of the words. Recognize the emotions behind these properties.
- Repeat what you hear, especially if you’re not sure you understand.
- Try not to drift off topic.
- Take a few moments to reflect on what was said before responding.
Practice these activities with your significant other, a close friend or a family member. As your listening skills improve, expand the practice to people you meet, then others with which you associate on a regular basis: co-workers, neighbors, etc. You will find that these relationships will grow tremendously.
Avoiding Relationship Conflicts Through Listening – A Personal Perspective
In the past, my wife and I would experience phases of frequent standoffs on issues ranging from house cleaning to life priorities. These episodes would generally start with a calm disagreement, but would occasionally escalate to the point where we were both so entrenched in our need to be right and our unwillingness to listen to the other that resolution was impossible. After much time spent talking over each other and repeating the same arguments in different words, we would inevitably resolve the issue with a long, late-night conversation once we were both too exhausted to resist.
The sleep deprivation, emotional exhaustion and our continued love for each other motivated us to work together to figure out how we could fix this problem. The most significant change in our relationship today which has practically eliminated these episodes is that we listen to each other now before we make snap judgements and insist on being listened to. Disagreement arise, but we now understand each other like we never did before and are able to accept each other’s sometimes differing point of view.
Daily Action – Listen In Silence
Have at least one conversation today, preferably with a significant other, a close friend or family member, during which you do not introduce any new information. Ask questions, verify clarification and reflect on what is being said before saying anything.
Notice how the other person reacts to this behavior. Does he/she seem surprised, more comfortable sharing more information than usual, more warm and receptive toward you?
Feel free to add comments chronicling this activity.