Did you know that there are different levels of listening? The first level is hearing the words, processing them so that you understand the words.
Example: The dog bowl is empty.
So, your spouse says those words to you. You look at the bowl and yep, he’s right the dog food bowl is empty. You shrug and go on your merry way. Then you wonder why later in the day, he seems a bit miffed at you.
That’s because you heard his words, but you didn’t hear the real message behind them. He wasn’t just telling you the bowl was empty for no reason. He wanted you to fill the bowl so the poor little puppy wouldn’t starve all day!
Then why didn’t he say so, right? As far as the spouse is concerned, he did say so.
This is only one simplified example of why putting on our listening ears means more than hearing the spoken words. Deeper listening is about taking the time to process the meaning behind the words. Deeper listening involves our hearts and not just our ears.
My husband is great at giving hidden messages. Unfortunately, I’m not so good at picking up on them. After almost 12 years of marriage, I’m getting better at it but still miss the real meaning behind his words from time to time. Now, you might say he should become a better communicator, and I might agree with you. But the truth is that most of us learned our communication styles when we were much younger and changing it is not an easy thing to do.
So, each of us need to develop deeper listening skills to be better communicators in all sorts of contexts. Deeper listening will allow us to be more successful not just at home but in the workplace and socially as well.
Deeper listening will bring deeper understanding with others, especially those in our family. This is true with all family members but even more so with teenagers. A screamed I HATE YOU could have a multitude of meanings. It could mean I’m mad at you because you forgot to ask me how my test went. Or I had a REALLY bad day today. Or I’m tired and hungry.
It would be a wonderful world if everyone in it said what they meant, but it’s not going to happen. That’s why we all need to improve our deeper listening skills. Relationships in our life will go a bit smoother and possibly even grow stronger if we listen with our heart and not just with our ears.
How about you? Ever had a time when you thought you knew what the person was saying, but you missed it completely?
Until next time…God Bless and Good Reading!