“Are you listening to what I’m saying?”
Have you ever been asked or have you ever said, “Are you listening to what I’m saying?” What are we communicating when we ask this question?
You may feel that listening and hearing are different, but in essence, they are both auditory responses. We hear a sound and we take in the information associated with it. What can be different is the action taken…whether we react or respond. The best way to look at this is to not worry about semantics, but to focus on what is truly being asked: “Are you understanding what I’m saying? Are you here with me now? Are you in this present moment?”
>>> When we actively engage, we are able to fully understand and process the information <<<
When we are not in the present moment, the information is not able to be fully processed and can lead to many things like miscommunication, misunderstanding, judgement, preconceived outcomes/evaluations, etc. due to energy of past experiences and/or future fears. The most common issue from this is reacting versus responding.
Many times, when we are not listening, we choose to react to a situation because we didn’t take the time to allow the information to resonate. When we react, it usually is brash, quick, and can be aggressive in nature. When we listen and allow all information to resonate, we can take the time to feel out a situation and respond accordingly. Even if we don’t fully understand what is being communicated, responding by saying that can give us further clarity, rather than reacting and brushing it off with no intention to understand further. The more we focus on responding versus reacting, the more we are able to not jump to conclusions, get emotional, judge or blow things out of proportion.
Even when you are the communicator, take the time to feel whether or not your words are being listened to or heard. Take the time to feel out the situation and see if the person you are communicating to is listening. If not, seek to understand why that individual is not in the present moment and/or why that person is reacting versus responding. By showing that you’re listening and that you care will command their attention and bring them to the present, allowing your words to resonate, creating the opportunity for solid communication.
Furthermore, being present and attentive is a sign of respect – to our family, our friends, our co-workers, strangers and our loved ones. When we actively engage, we show that we are genuinely interested in what is being communicated. This allows the person who is communicating to feel valued, which in return, can give the communicator the opportunity to express what they are saying with more clarity. We may not agree with what is being said and that is okay, but we must continue to allow ourselves the opportunity to listen intently, because what is being said may provide growth and expansion.
Communication is the key to all relationships (romantic, friends, family, work, social, etc.). Taking the time to truly connect does take effort, but not as much effort as it takes to repair a miscommunication. So, put the effort in up front and it will save you both time and energy in the long run…in addition to strengthening your relationship(s) all around.