Monday, March 20, 2017

My Daily Reflection: Listening to understand

To understand another person requires listening.....

Really listening with the intention of understanding not with the intention of making a rebuttal.

And yet for the most part, in most conversations, I find people listen with only one intention, to find a opening where they can insert their point of view or their story.

How often I come away from a conversation feeling unheard and then I wonder why there was no connection made with the person I was speaking with. 

I remember the old saying "people like to talk about themselves so when there is a lull in the conversation ask a question about them."  As a good listener I have learnt so much about others using this technique.

Here is the strange bit though that I have discovered; most people are not good listeners.  Most people do not ask me questions to discover more about me. My interest in others most often seems to be one sided. 

No wonder I feel more isolated and alone in the company of others.  For the real me, the me that pours out in my written work is never heard in conversation. 

My thoughts and opinions are almost never solicited.  And even when I am asked my opinion I am cut off in mid thought and told that I am wrong as soon as I propose something that they disagree with. 

And when on a very rare occasion my advice is sought, I get replies that indicate that what I have suggested is too hard to attempt or I get some other excuse to let me know that my help wasn’t really sought after all; that what they really wanted was a sounding block for their troubles and possibly a commiseration that they are indeed in a sorry place.  They did not really communicate with me for a path toward a solution. They communicated with me for company in the pity party.

So then I pause to wonder.  If most communication is about seeking company in misery rather than about finding common ground and working toward solutions by exploring those paths which are less comfortable; no wonder we so rarely really connect.  Connecting is more than sharing a heart ache and a grief.  Connecting is about opening doors and discovering that there is more yet to be discovered. 

I have often thought of myself as shy or introverted.  But possibly I am the way I am because if feel uncomfortable in the superficial.  Banal communications tire me out.  After one way listening I am in dire need of seclusion to recharge.   On those rare occasions when I have met a kindred spirit, one eager to dive into the strange and uncharted world of thoughts and ideas with me, I felt strangely electrified and alive.   Sadly mostly I meet kindred spirits in the authors of the books that I read; where once again the conversation is one way, me listening and actively engaged in thought provoking thoughts.  

When I sit here writing, knowing that some of you, my readers, are actually listening, I wonder, do you feel as I do that most of the time no one is really listening to hear what you have to say, but rather they listen so they can get the opportunity to say what they have to say?

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 – 03 – 18

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