Most of us can be better listeners by not only hearing and understanding our loved one’s spoken words but by observing others in a holistic way. You know that time when you talked with your friend, and everything seemed great? Only to find out she was depressed, resorted to addiction and was having a much harder time than you realized. What about when your kid’s grades slipped but there was a secondary issue behind it? It is so horrible when you look back to the clues you dismissed–How devastating. We need to read between the lines when we listen.
This Psychology Today article says, “To borrow from Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, being listened to is the psychological equivalent of air. It is the deepest hunger of the human heart.”
To listen holistically is to know and understand our loved ones on a deeper level.
When I go for a walk, sometimes I tune my senses to the sounds all around me. I hear the rustling tree leaves, different chirping birds, crunching of my feet on the dirt, a salty smell of an ocean breeze, my breath flowing in and out. I like to see how many different sounds I can pick out and focus on them individually. Then, they come together like a symphony. I don’t always do this, but I love when I have enough time to have fun observing nature intentionally. I often forget to use this same focusing technique to listen to others, but it works because not only are you listening with your brain, but you are paying attention in order to understand with your heart. And it is so profitable to be a good listener.
Art Of Consistent Listening
With my family and friends, understanding where they are at is critical to our relationships. I’ve learned that there is an art to consistent listening. Living life with others is constant, a process that will never end. So, we may as well get creative in our listening.
Really, I needed a good reminder for me to be a better listener and observer with my family and friends, so below is a short exercise to cue our brains to listen with everything we have. Let me know if it helps you too!
Step 1. As you listen, pick out different sounds. Then listen as a whole.
Step 2. Watch this video and observe as many details as possible.
As stated in the title, focusing on amazing scenery is relaxing, so that’s another reason to get our butts outside! (By the way, this is a three hour video, so unless you are bored, just watch for a bit.)