Listen to what has been said, what has not being said and what been said between the lines.
We were created and born with a pair of ears for the purpose to listen; but we may not all live to this purpose. In our current fast pace world, as technology advances, our ways and speed of communicating enhances. We are so busy focusing on saying, talking and blab blab, forgetting to have the space to listen to others. We call our families and friends to tell them something happens around us; instead of asking others what happens around them. Why do you think children scream, because no one hears them until they scream?
How connected are your ears to your mind and to your heart? Does what you hear come in from one ear and go out immediately from another? Or does it go into your mind and heart, making an impact and leaving you holding onto them for some time? Listening is an art and also a skill to be learned, like placing yourself in your partner’s shoes (Day 8). For some, this skill may be more naturally been picked up than for others who require degrees of efforts to learn.
“Active listening” is a way to enhance our listening skill: as it brings both the speaker and the listener to the same ground of understanding as much as possible through re-stating or paraphrasing what has been said and heard. In this “active listening” process, by listener’s shown interests and wanting to clarify, ensure correct understanding, it gives the speaker the satisfaction of being heard, understood and cared for. The listener at the same time may feel a sense of content due to the contribution made to the speaker. And this is exactly what we need in a healthy relationship where we embrace ‘understanding’, ‘care’ and ‘contribution’…etc.
We hear what we hear with our ears; but our mind and heart may process the messages differently. It’s like hearing with a filtering system. If we take off our filters and listen with speaker’s point of view, we could hear the messages that are:
- Being said –> try to listen with speaker’s understanding and intention of what has been said, not with yours; your definition and interpretation of what you hear may be different from the speaker’s.
- Being not said –> there may be something that the speaker couldn’t or decided not to say it loud; no harm to enquire further and get the full picture. The speaker may appreciate your further interests and share more.
- Being said between the lines –> some hidden or unclear messages may be incorporated for some reasons; be sensitive, take some time to verify and understand them correctly. The speaker may secretly hope you getting the hidden messages.
- Being said with facial expression and body language –> body cannot lie easily; observe carefully on what has been expressed through speaker’s facial expression and body. It helps to validate what you hear.
To hear with open heart is crucial in a relationship, because it means the heart is hearing the messages, all four types above, without any assumptions, guesses or judgments. It only feels and empathizes, seeking for full understanding. If you think you have been listening, listen again.
Today I love my partner by: (share it aloud to your partner)
Listen with an open heart without any assumptions, guesses or judgments; listen to my partner with my partner’s definition, meaning and intention, not mine.
For your actions:
(1) Share this idea of ‘listening with an open heart’ with your partner; and at the same time secretly observing how your partner listens and how you listen.