The art of listening and why we suck at it

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I have only met a select few that are truly great listeners. People that are present and content to hear what the other has to say. Do you find yourself interrupting people before they even finish speaking? That you just have to get the words out of your mind that very moment? When you speak with someone are you already voicing your opinion before they’ve completed their story or sentence? If you answered yes to these questions, than you are not a great listener.

Don’t worry, most of us are not. It takes practice. It takes presence. It takes self awareness.

As you become more present in your conversations with others you will begin to notice just how often you really do interrupt someone when they are speaking. We tend to want to turn it all around and have the spotlight back on us. We think “oh! oh!, I have something to say to that”. How about we first try to listen to them - listen to what they have to say. This is about giving the other space to speak.

We are all guilty of this. We can do better.

I admire those people - the ones that have mastered this. The ones that you can sit and speak with that give you space to do so without interruption or judgement.

Life has become so fast, everyone is in a rush. Consider this a practice to slow down. A practice to actually show up in our interactions and hold space and lend an ear. We all want to be heard, no matter what the capacity.

So, when you catch yourself, when you notice the verbal diarrhea bubbling up and an urge to blurt out your response before they have even finished their sentence, I invite you to stop yourself. Hold that thought and come back to it. Let them speak.

I invite you to start taking notice of how you show up in conversation with others.

Can you hold more space for them? Are you willing to practice the art of listening?

It might be hard at first, but keep trying. This will benefit all of your relationships, whether it be at work, with your kids and your partner. Let’s approach our engagement with others and how we converse with a little more presence and self awareness!

Because at the end of the day, we all want to be held and heard and we all deserve to be. Wouldn’t you agree?

marika jewell