Being fully attentive to your current problems can begin with someone actively listening to you discuss your issues. The Maori’s story in the previous post can serve as an example of the strength that comes from simply listening to someone’s words.
Deep listening includes everything from listening to the speaker’s emotions, gauging their posture, facial expressions, and even things that are not being verbalized. Expert listeners such as parents, teachers, friends, and clergy persons understand that listening includes consciously seeking underlying needs for the other person. In order to actively listen, we must be aware of the hidden clues including sentence pauses, or even silence.
Dr. Mark Brady, a past teacher had once told me that listening deeply can be a form of meditation. It can be a practice of letting go, or trying to make room in order to improve the skill of deep listening.
- Scott Peck, a renowned author of The Road Less Traveled has said, “…the setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, steps inside his or her shoes….”
With that being said, here are a few suggestions to improve your listening skills:
- Talk less. You are born with two ears, and one mouth.
- Listen for feelings. Read between the lines.
- Be careful not to interrupt when it’s not necessary.
- Remind yourself that it is about the speaker, not the listener.
- Practice the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people don’t know the difference.” By David Augsburger