So, I have these two amazing, precious girls. One is about to turn 15 and the other is 11. They are creative, smart, and beautiful. But, let me tell ya, they don’t listen. Ever. I can ask them to do one thing – anything! – and it will go in one ear and out the other.
When they were little, something we always said to them was “Listen with your ears, not your mouth”. They always had something to say and didn’t actually listen to what we were talking about. As we were talking we always heard the “Oh! Oh! Oh!” and their little hands would raise up so they could share their idea. But they didn’t realize that they weren’t hearing the entire thought before they had something to say.
But you know what – we are all guilty of this. Even as adults. I ask you, what is your listening style? I read this great quote the other day - “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand…we listen to reply.”
Isn’t that the truth! When we are “listening” to our spouse, our friends, our kids…how many of you are listening so you can share your thoughts? (OK, you can put your hand down now). YES! I am so guilty, too! We all have opinions and thoughts and we SOOOO want them to be heard. But in order to be HEARD we also have to honor the practice of LISTENING.
So why do I bring this up? Well, as a life coach, I’m kind of in the business of listening A LOT. My clients have a lot to share, things to work through and ideas they can’t figure out how to grow. So I listen and let them talk it out. Sure, I interject as I need to in order to keep the thought process on track, but often times just listening allows my sweet clients to find that road forward. They learn and grow by being allowed to fully share a thought and are honored by being HEARD.
And don’t we all want to be heard? A huge component of feeling loved and accepted is feeling heard. Feeling heard is how we connect with each other and grow our relationships.
So, let’s come back to you…what is your listening style? Are you truly hearing what your family and friends have to say? This week, slow down and don’t try to reply quickly when you’re in a conversation. Let there be a little silence before you reply. You might actually encourage more depth in the conversation or an idea to fully develop just by listening. And your reply will be more meaningful because you have truly LISTENED.
And when you take the time to listen, the people around you might just be better at hearing you, too.
Love and hugs, Natalie