Thursday, February 23, 2017

Listen With Curiosity

"Listen with curiosity...The greatest problem with communication is we don't listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don't listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what's behind the words."

-Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Most of us have heard part of this quote...the bit about the greatest problem.  I think the rest of the quote is the most important because, after pointing out the problem with listening, it gives us the ingredient needed to correct it.

Listen with curiosity--  Why does that change everything?  Because if you are curious about something or someone, it shifts how much you are willing to invest to discover the answer.  It's the bit that engages you in a process instead of simply being a witness to something.  It changes you from being passive to active.  It makes you a participator in a process.

There is a vast difference between hearing and listening! When you understand if you are in a hearing state vs. a listening state, you're able to change the communication dynamic when necessary.

So, what's the difference? I find it interesting that when you Google, "images of hearing," you get things that suggest the ear is the most important ingredient. 

But, when you type in, "images of listening," this is what you find...

...countless images of people with various expressions, obvious eye contact, being actively engaged in a process.

You see the connection, feel the interaction.  There is nothing passive about it! You sense that hearing is an autonomic (unconscious or involuntary response,) while listening is a Human, dynamic, spirit involved decision.

The kanji for listening explains it best...

Of equal importance to the functioning ear, is also the involvement of you- your eyes and heart, and your undivided attention.

When all parts of you are involved, you no longer feel the need to reply.  Instead, you are listening to give a great gift to another; you are listening to validate them.  You are listening to give someone the gift of being present.  You are reminding them that they are important, loved, cared about.

Instead of the need to talk, the listener is there to give another Human Being the gift of being Heard.

And, we all know what a relief and validation it is to feel as if we are heard when we desperately need to feel that someone understands or cares how we feel.  You are giving the great gift of one who is willing to really care what we think.

I always say that there's not a Human Being alive who isn't interesting or doesn't have a story that's worth hearing.  But we have thousands of Human Beings who are never asked to share their story with us. And that's a real shame.

Each chance you have to truly listen to someone is an opportunity to invite them to share a chapter of themselves.

While it's often said that curiosity killed the cat, it's also true that meeting each encounter with curiosity means setting the stage for true communication instead of a missed opportunity.  So, today, spend some time being curious about someone.  Use the time to sit still, be open and listen.

It makes all the difference between being simply heard and feeling truly important, even loved. You will give someone the best gift of all.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is A Good Listener

1 comment:

Sheena said...

So true actually you can tell when someone is really listening /hearing because they are interested and care or when just going through the motions it's in body language or lack there of .... thank you again for an interesting blog.....!!!!!

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