most people do not listen with the intent of hearing, they listen with an intent to answer. -unknown
have you ever had one if those conversations that didn’t actually require you to be involved? where you know the person is not hearing what your saying much less listening? where you throw in, “and she was dancing naked with all of her clothes on while a crowd of penguins gathered” and the other person says, “yeah, yeah but i was making my point that….”?
i have met people who can carry on an entire conversation without letting me say a word and not realize that i have been silent the whole time.
sadly, i’ve been that person, too.
there have been times as a shy teenager that i was quite happy for someone else to carry the conversation.
however, i remember feeling like i walked away without that person getting to know me at all.
i’ve exited conversations without leaving the room as well without the person noticing for quite some time.
actually, my husband gets this from me a lot. shocked? don’t be.
he and i have an agreement of sorts. he is passionate about oysters; how to grow them, how to build infrastructure they need, and many technical details that are beyond my comprehension or interest. my husband likes to talk through “how to…”(whatever it is) as a way to organise his thoughts. he just needs a warm body nearby to hear the sounds so that he feels like he’s talking to someone. he does not need or want input (yet). so, he has agreed during those times, i can “tune-out”, if i will indulge his need to be the only participant in the conversation. when he is ready for input, he lets me know he needs me to listen.
however, feeling surplus to requirement in conversations is extremely frustrating.
i want to be heard!
i want to be listened to!
i, also, want to contribute.
there is skill involved in listening. i believe it also requires a genuine heart and an attitude of respect.
listening is not waiting for your turn to talk, interrupting because you have something more important to say or correcting the other person.
listening is genuine interest.
listening makes you trustworthy to the other person. it means you are willing to learn about who they are and what is important to them- whether or not it’s important to you. you gather the contents of their heart and place value on those contents.
this leaves the person with a sense of acceptance and belonging which is encouraging.
pride will prevent listening. often, people who feel insecure will take on an attitude of pride that insists on proving they are more of an expert on a subject than the person they are talking to.
someone who is unteachable will demonstrate their belief that they “already know” all they need to on a subject projecting their knowledge through dominating the conversation.
this approach causes us to miss the heart of the matter which is relationship. we miss vital treasures. the contents within a person’s heart can bring such richness to our lives. all it requires is the investment -the art of listening.
this point was emphasised to me this past weekend. my ex-husband was sharing some struggles he was having with my son and he wanted me to talk to him. i decided that instead of being judgemental about the teenage symptoms, i would actively listen to his heart. i learned a lot.
he had desires and lack of desire that he wanted someone to hear and understand.
he wanted respect (i’m learning how vital the need for respect is in the heart of all men).
he wanted to be heard as a teen approaching adulthood. he didn’t want one-way conversation or lectures on life. he wanted his voice to matter.
he also had pain in there that he desperately did not want dismissed as trivial, teenage over reaction.
when i listened, i related and remembered times when i had experienced similar desires. i understood better what was making him tick. i was honest with myself that when i did not experience being listened to, frustration resulted followed by the temptation for poor behavior and attitudes.
listening to the contents of his heart helped me to not judge him but come to an understanding that could lead to a resolution that might actually work.
i am thankful for that opportunity. i realised that i have a young man emerging. i could see that although the symptoms were frustrating, frightening and difficult on my heart, there were answers that could bring a positive response.
in fact, i spoke sternly to him on a couple of matters after i had listened. when he replied, his defensiveness dropped and instead if a disrespectful answer, he replied,”yes, ma’am.” i have to say it stunned me for a moment. then i beamed with pride. do you know why? because i have taught my son to show me respect and i saw that the training is in there…it is in his heart. i didn’t demand it, he offered it.
listening is an art.
my husband always tells that a problem always points you in the direction of the solution. if you will pay attention to the problem and discover what is causing it…finding the solution becomes easier.
listening is the genuine paying attention when it comes to relationships that makes success much more accessible.
are you a good listener?
i would love to hear about some of the treasures you have gathered when you took time to listen to someone’s heart. will you leave me a comment? i could do a little heart-content gathering if you did!
thanks for stopping by,