Most people tend to be “hard of LISTENING” rather than “hard of HEARING”.
When I am working on my own Emotional Fitness or supporting a client to help them improve theirs, LISTENING is often the biggest challenge.
When I really grasped the fact in my early days of recovery that HEARING and LISTENING were really two very different things, the quality of my emotional intimacy with both others and myself started to really improve.
I like to describe HEARING is a passive occurrence that requires no effort.
When we are HEARING we are in our masculine mode regardless of our gender. Masculine simply meaning external channel (head and body engaged). HEARING is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If we are not HEARING-impaired, HEARING simply happens as the body and mind record tape.
So when we say … “I HEAR you” …
We are stating that the information was received by our body (ears) and the tape was recording (our head/brain stored the data in a memory file). It does not mean we were LISTENING though.
LISTENING, on the other hand, is a conscious choice that demands our full attention and emotional presence. LISTENING in my view is not a passive occurrence, demanding only our external (masculine) skills. LISTENING requires our feminine, intuitive skills to also be engaged.
It involves emotional effort in other words.
LISTENING is something we must consciously choose to do. It requires time and our full concentration (head, body and heart working together) so that the data recorded in our brain actually gets processed through our heart’s common senses. I am referring to the common ways we humans all make sense of life via sight, smell, taste, touch and sound.
When we are committed to LISTENING our feminine energy (our heart) becomes activated, empowering us to communicate more effectively.
So the first step to ensure we are LISTENING well is that sight is fully engaged.
Eye contact is imperative when we are LISTENING. It ensures a clear and strong signal of respect and emotional transparency is maintained.
Even if we are LISTENING via phone, television or computer screen it needs to be out of sight so that the other party has our full emotional focus; full commitment to no distractions.
With smell and taste, if we are eating or these two senses are distracting us our full attention will also be compromised.
If we can reach out and touch another’s hand when communicating it is like turning up the volume on our capacity to LISTEN. If we’re upset though with the other party …
“Don’t touch me” may also be a request as the volume may already be up way too much.
The last LISTENING skill I would like to share is about being more aware of sound or tone. When we are in our masculine energy of HEARING only, we are often tone deaf, focused only on the fact and content of our conversation.
When we activate our feminine energy, HEARING evolves into LISTENING. We then no longer appear as heartless, insensitive and dismissive of tone, but emotionally aware of it is emotional clout.
So in a nutshell …
HEARING = masculine energy, head and body engaged but emotionally absent.
LISTENING = masculine and feminine energy working together, head, heart and body full engaged thus emotionally present.
LISTENING leads to us to better learning.
So let’s remember we all want to be HEARD and understood.
Sometimes though we are all guilty of getting emotionally lazy and fail to really LISTEN and understand the meaning of another person’s words. In our conversations today why not be a little more aware of where our focus is. Is it on listening and understanding or … tolerating their chatter, nodding, pretending we’ve listened when we’ve only heard being more consumed with when they shut up so we can give them our clever reply?
It is a fundamental human need to have our feelings acknowledged, whether or not someone agrees with us. Honest to goodness LISTENING creates an intimate connection and makes us and those we love feel cared about.
So the good news is that LISTENING is such a simple act, simple, but not easy.
It requires practice for most of us.
All we need to do to master the art of LISTENING is to become willing to learn the discipline of being silent and emotionally present.
We do not have to do anything else; just be connected with our common senses emotionally engaged.
We do not need to interrupt, judge, give unsolicited advice, coach or even sound wise. Just create time, space and be there with an open heart to really LISTEN…
Love will do the rest.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.