Learning to Listen

Sometimes when I am trying to hear what someone is really saying it feels like I’m staring at a blank wall, not seeing (hearing) what is really there or being said. The problem is I’m not really listening.

Brick Wall

To listen is to pay attention.

To really listen, we must stop thinking, planning, pondering, wandering. It requires utmost concentration and focus. We have to be in the moment, and look for every nuance and expression of what it is we are trying to hear. We must be open to the real meaning of what is being said. We have to be present.

I often find myself thinking about what I’m going to say next in a conversation, rather than really taking the time to absorb what is being shared with me. I have to resist strongly the urge to play devil’s advocate, even when there’s no good reason for me to do so. Sometimes presenting alternate perspectives is useful, but just as often the person talking just needs to be heard. I spend much of any given conversation thinking about what I am going to say, rather than really absorbing what the other person is saying.

My challenge to myself for 2013 is to practice deeper, more effective listening habits. I want to be truly present and with that attention, be a better listener.

Only once we have truly heard what is being communicated can we then move forward effectively with the next action.

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