Listening Requires Focus
Too often, when someone is talking, we are just waiting for them to finish their thought so we can add in our opinion. As a result, we may miss the core message. By bringing awareness to the way we listen, we are able to stay open to the speaker’s perspective and recognize judgments as they arise. The intent of listening mindfully is to pay attention to the speaker without interruption, without getting defensive, and without a need to always be right or make a point. To get the whole picture, we need to engage all of our senses and concentrate on the personal gestures and the messages that are being communicated.
Summer marks a welcomed change of pace. It offers opportunities to listen mindfully and redefine how we engage with the people around us. There is much to be learned from our children and teens as they leave the school routines behind. We can embrace their new-found freedom, choose to place value on their perspectives, listen to their wisdom and enjoy their company. In turn we navigate past old roadblocks, establish new listening habits and create memorable connections to cherish.
Playlist for Summer Listening
- Put aside your physical distractions (e.g. cell phone, computer, tv remote, etc.)
- Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t able to focus at one moment, pick another time to have the conversation.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage dialogue.
- Let the other person share their full thoughts rather than finishing his or her sentences.
- Paraphrase back what you heard to clarify if it is what the speaker meant.
- Take a mindful breath before responding. Pausing works to your advantage.
- Be patient and don’t jump to conclusions.
- Notice when your mind wanders and direct your attention back to the speaker.
- Listen to your intuition by noticing your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations as they arise.
- Pay attention to the clues beyond the words (e.g. speaker’s tone and body language)
- Listen with a willingness to understand the other person’s point of view
- Set an intention to listen mindfully.
Learn more at www.mindfulnesswithoutborders.org.