“You have my full and undivided attention.”
But do you really? Most of the time that’s just not true. Whether we mean for it to be or not.
The power of conversation cultivates much more potential when we genuinely listen to what a person is saying. Absorbing every bit that is muttered from a person’s lips. Trying to truly understand what someone else has to say, or how they’re feeling, or why they’re feeling the way they are.
“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” is a quote I pulled from the late Hilary Hinton a.k.a “Zig Ziglar”.
When I stumbled upon this quote, it vigorously fluttered into my mind. This quote is preaching to the choir. The vigorously fluttering sensations then transitioned into feelings of slight guilt. Which then turned into a one-man treaty with my conscious and sub-conscious that “the next time we find ourselves wandering into a substantial conversation, that we learn to selflessly listen to what the other person is saying.”
How often do we actually listen to one another without thinking about what we may say in response to what is being vocalized to us?
What exactly is being said to us? What are our friends, family members, and even strangers telling us? What do they want us to understand, and take from the conversation?
One of two things are happening when we aren’t listening: it’s the lack of a decent attention span or the desire to actually pay attention may not be present.
It’s natural for us to simultaneously cultivate a response whilst being engaged in a conversation, although frequently, we genuinely need to listen to what another is saying. To be able and willing to hop out of our internal dialogue and hop into the speaker’s. To allow yourself to see in a different perspective by more than just listening, but by hearing.
Well what does that mean? To be able to deliver a thought felt response, it means we have to keep our mouths shut, and train our ears to digest the thoughts that hibernate in the brain’s of those speaking to us.
And what about empathy?
One of the very many beautiful attributions of being human, is being able to empathize. Allowing ourselves to feel with others. Putting ourselves in each other’s shoes.
We are not alone. We’re not alone in times of joy, and we surely aren’t alone in those melancholy moments.
Concentrate on what is being voiced.
Decipher and dissect the words that are flowing out of other people’s mouths. We all deserve to be heard. It’s crucial, it’s pivotal, that we tune in to what a person is trying to say.
It’s more than just spoken words. They’re feelings, they’re experiences, they’re internal conflict. It’s happiness, it’s sorrow, it’s joy, it’s concern, it’s care, it’s everything that deserves and demands our full, and complete, undivided attention.