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Listeners Blog

Tag Archives: Silence is Golden

Mar
4

There can be many reasons why you feel that you haven’t been truly heard. Perhaps instead of listening, people you talk to insist on giving you advice, or judging you for having an issue. Perhaps you have felt people spend more time thinking about their reply than to what you are saying.

Or perhaps you are having a problem focusing on your real issues. Every time you try to start a meaningful conversation, you get sidetracked into generalities or wind up talking about what’s important to the other person because you talk around what is really bothering you, especially if it is deeply painful. Even the most empathetic listener has a hard time hearing what isn’t said.

Before you ask someone to help you find your inner truth by listening, find a quiet place where you can take some time to think about the major issues you need to resolve. What is causing you the most stress and anxiety? How do you see yourself in the current situation? Are you willing to embrace whatever self-revelations you may find on your journey?

Once you focus your mind, you will be able to focus the conversation on what you need to hear from yourself. The capacity for self-insight, problem solving and growth resides inside you, but only if you are brave enough to confront your real issues and talk them through.

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Dec
6

Have you ever noticed how much of the imagery around Christmas involves listening?

Think about your favorite Christmas songs and carols. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” “Angels We have Heard on High.” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Then there are all those bells ringing merrily and little drummer boys playing and many, many pipers piping.

So why is one of the most moving of all Christmas songs “Silent Night”? It could be that it captures the essence of engaged listening. After we have heard the message – whether it is a proclamation of a new age of peace on earth from a heavenly host or a conversation with someone who needs to talk through their issues – we need some space for reflection to process it and understand its meaning. The act of listening is powerful, and if we allow ourselves to truly hear, it can change us on a deeply spiritual level.

Take some quiet time to yourself this busy holiday season to reflect on the messages you’ve received this past year. Strive for deep understanding to prepare yourself to be an open and supportive listener in the coming new year.

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Dec
4

When was the last time you had a serious conversation that ended in bad feelings for all parties? What do you remember most – what started the conflict or how it ended? Most of us tend to forget everything but the hurt.

Whether we start out to have a reasonable talk about a minor misunderstanding or a major discussion about a relationship, as soon as one party feels disrespected, meaningful communication is derailed. We may not even realize that we are making the other person feel discounted or diminished, because it is so easy to do, especially around sensitive topics. Then we are left to wonder why the conversation was so frustrating and nonproductive and how we can ever settle anything.

It’s quite possible to misunderstand what your choice of words or tone of voice can convey from another person’s perspective. For example, you may think that approaching a serious subject lightly can help diffuse the tension. But if it sounds like you aren’t taking the topic seriously, doesn’t that mean you are not taking the person seriously either? If someone doesn’t feel they are being taken seriously, there is little reason for them to invest in a conversation; they know they won’t be truly heard.

Developing your listening skills can go a long way in helping resolve conflicts. The first step is to pay attention to how you express yourself. Keep your comments respectful, and ask others to do the same.

If you do hear the conversation getting off track because someone feels disrespected, it’s time to stop and deal with the real issue at hand. Once mutual respect is restored, it will be much easier to resolve whatever conflict started the discussion in the first place. And you will have built a much stronger foundation for really listening to each other in the future.

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