Are you listening?

As we share our experiences living on this planet, we must know how to clearly communicate with each other. There are all types of avenues to demonstrate our needs and desires as well as our feeble ways to translate our emotions into the language we speak. It is interesting that we can say something with our mouths, yet our hearts are not in agreement. When this occurs our body language may betray us. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” There are times when we try to filter our words to be politically correct, or to protect anothers feelings. Life is complex as well as difficult to manuver in many situations. Having so many variables to deal with, it is amazing how well we can actually function with each other as a whole. We need to take into consideration the differences of gender, age, maturity, language, education, culture, likes/dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, all of which have an influence on the way we communicate and understand each other. Therefore, when attempting to talk to each other, one might ask, “Did you hear me”? The response can be the usual, “Yes, I heard you!” Yet, if there is a disagreement occuring, the voice volume may be turned up while the conversation quickly turns into a heated discussion. One may scream, “You never listen to me”, as they walk away and slam the door. The other may respond in a variety of ways. One way may be following the other in hot pursuit to have the last word. Or, perhaps they whisper under their breath bitter and revengeful words; not meant to be heard. Whatever the case, painfully felt bitterness and resentment will take root deep in the heart.
How can we minimize these occurances? Let’s look at the fact ‘listening and hearing’ are two different words, yet many times we may mistake them as the same. Listening is the act of hearing intentively. Note: Key word is intentively. Hearing is having the ability to percieve sound. When addressing selective hearing, it can be percieved as a willful disregard, refusing to listen or hear what the other person is trying to convey. Of course if someone is hard of hearing or complete deaf, this scenario may not apply. As we continue communicating with others, it would be a great gift to them as well as to ourselves to keep in mind the difference of hearing vs. listening. Can we honestly question our intentions? Are we listening with the desire to understand what is truly being said, or are we just hearing vibrations of their vocal cords filtering through the airways. I recognize that our will and ego come in to play when we are communicating with others which will add another dynamic. There are also heart issues that may be interfering with our hearing frequencies. Are we willing to be patient and listen when perhaps we desire to be heard? As I stated earlier, life is complex as well as simple all combined together. Intentionally taking time to practice the secret of active listening may be one way to improve relationships in the home and the work place.
How is your hearing?

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