Listening is what we do every day. It is part of our every day experience. Most of the time we are not aware that we are even listening at all. We are so rushed and busy that we go about each moment just preparing and anticipating the next moment. We take for granted listening. Have you ever stopped for a moment and was mindful in that moment that you were listening? Have you ever stopped and really started listening to the sounds around you? I love hearing the birds chirp, they bring a sound that is honestly music to my ears.
We speak to people all day and people speak back to us as well. However, just because we have the physical capability to hear with our ears, does not mean that we are actually listening. Our bodies can be there when we speak to someone, but our listening, which is our ability to be attentive, can be far gone to another land. To fully listen to someone or something is to be attentive and present in that very moment. To listen to someone is to look them in the eye without doing anything else, like being on your phone, your computer, or whatever distraction may be around you. Being present for someone's words is really a powerful way that people can feel heard and acknowledged. When we are attentive to what someone else is saying, we allow the space for them to just be who they are. We allow the space for them to vent and just express what they need to express. Now of course, if someone is yelling and cursing at you, that may be a time where you end the interaction right away.
Have you ever had someone vent to you and talk about their rough day, or something that they were going through? Pretty sure you have. Have you noticed how they felt when they first started talking to you and when they finished speaking to you. Most people feel a sense of relief, a sense of lightness in their body just because they released energy in them that was not serving them. It is powerful to allow people to speak without interruption or giving our opinion or thoughts. When someone is speaking to us, unless they ask for our opinion, there is no need for us to provide them with our two sense. Providing a space for people to speak is a gift to them and you. Someone who can speak and just Be themselves, is acknowleged for what they have to say. If you are attentive to what they have to say and just BE the listener, you can learn a lot from what they have to say. Providing them the space to speak without giving your opinions acknowledges the speaker and says "what you have to say is important and I hear you."
The reason that communication is fairly poor among many is because people do not know how to listen and are so focussed on being right. It doesn't matter what the other person says and whether we agree with them or not. The point is not the topic that is being discussed, the point is that we are here to provide a space for another person to share themselves through their words. When you look at communicating with people in this way, it shifts the way you interact with all people. When we interject with our "you should" or "that's wrong" or whatever our opinion is, we give the message to the speaker that what we have to say is more valid than their words. There is no need to tell people what to do and to tell people whether they are doing something right or wrong, our role as listeners is to acknowledge the words that people speak. Wouldn't you want someone to do that for you?