exercising my right to remain silent

i love when my brother says he is listening to the traffic and people outside of his window.  it isn't often in our busy lives that we actually sit down to listen to the environment around us; the chatter and clatter of people, the whoosh of cars and the jingle of keys.  if it is rare that we listen to what is around us, then are we really listening to the people who are actually talking to us?

listening is a practiced skill that takes years and years to master.  as a child, listening is difficult because who really wants to clean up their toys?  as a teenager it is difficult because no one around you could possibly understand what you are going through.  as an adult it is difficult because you have experienced so much more and you want to share what worked for you.

i work in a pre-school room with children 6 months to 24 months. if you've never met a child before this may be difficult to understand; children do not exactly go about the easiest way to tell you what they need. they cry, wine, kick, hit, scratch, laugh, make faces and lay there looking helpless. in other words  they require a lot of patience aka listening skills. listening to a child mean you understand what their cries mean, you understand what their laughs mean, when they babble you understand they are telling you something important. children are a great tool for teaching adults how to listen.  

surprisingly, even adults have trouble telling each other how they are feeling, they say one thing but their actions say another thing. if you do not have the keen ability to listen to them you might miss very important clues to explain their actions.   

next time you are having a conversation with someone exercise your right to remain silent.  listen deeply to their words and watch their expressions. all people want to be understood and to understand someone we must understand what they are saying to you. lets try to hear what is being said. don't compare your stories, happy, sad or otherwise.  everyone experiences emotions and if you want to hear the emotions someone is experiencing you must refrain from comparing yours to theirs.  when someone is telling you they had a bad day and list the reasons, listen.  even when you want to say "that happened to me today too!" 

deep listening allows people to feel validated. when people feel validated they feel understood. 

go, and LISTEN.


Anonymous said...

Wise words...I'm listening.

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