“The humble listen to their brothers and sisters because they assume they have something to learn. They are open to correction, and they become wiser through it.”
Superpower (n🙂 a power or ability (such as the ability to become invisible or to fly) of the kind possessed by superheroes: a superhuman power. Believe it or not, you have one. Actually, I think you have quite a few, but your best one yet is probably listening. Human beings are very complex individuals. We are unique and ever-evolving. We are made up of our experiences, cultural backgrounds, our own perspectives, and our own opinions. A dynamic human superpower that aids us in our constant evolution is as simple but still as complex as our entire being itself; it’s Listening!
Through listening, we can connect with others, reach deeply into ourselves while recognizing how deeply another person has met themselves, solve problems and creatively reach innovative solutions, expand our minds to consider alternative perspectives we may have never considered, and we can develop a radical openness of the mind and heart that raises the awareness of self. How powerful is that!
Actively listening and engaging while simultaneously removing self from the focal point of the experience encourages and builds respect and understanding between two individuals. It is a skill that, once mastered, is absolutely invaluable.
Rather than listening to respond, we gain our superpower by being present within the moment, a challenge that presents itself to many. Listening requires an intentional effort of giving others your full and complete attention. It is kindness in its most natural form.
Five tricks I practice to master the art of listening..
101. I pause before responding. I find that giving the speaker an opportunity to be patient with their thoughts, allowing them to flow naturally both through their mind and into our conversation, helps tremendously. It creates a space for me to slow down the naturally fast pace of the world that rushes people into and out of experiences before we’ve truly had the opportunity to enjoy them.
202. I make eye contact. By making eye contact with the speaker, I recognize them as a person. It is an intimate and gentle way to connect to a person without ever having to utter a word. Eye contact helps me to remain present and focused.
303. I ask questions. Naturally, a genuine curiosity will make its way into my conversations with others. Questions let the person know I’m listening and care about what they have to say. Sometimes, asking questions provided learning opportunities for both myself and the speaker.
404. I don’t form an opinion. I believe our brains rapidly and automatically form opinions on anything we are presented with. When listening to others, I don’t acknowledge my own, regardless of if it forms in my subconscious or not. A strong opinion can sometimes ignite the excitement to share it. So unless explicitly asked, I try not to form one at all.
505. I say thank you. Expressed gratitude towards another person that has taken the time to share with me lets them know that I value and respect them. I almost always walk away from conversations, having learned or gained something positive.
I encourage you to practice listening any and everywhere the opportunity presents itself. All conversations don’t have to be deep and intimate. There’s significant value in those interactions we encounter briefly through our day-to-day exchanges. The intention in this small act is to treat everyone with kindness and is an example of how we can treat each other better. Curious: How many times have you thought about how often we listen for a response when asking, “How are you?” Or is it natural to assume “Good” will be the immediate response? You wouldn’t be wrong.
Acknowledging people in the moment you experience them could make all the difference in their day. Adding in a genuine compliment may even make their day better! Listening is essential and is influential in each of our relationships. There will always be value in it for both you and the speaker.
Start to practice listening in your everyday interactions, and I guarantee you will start to see your relationships improve. What gifts do you possess that make you a great listener?
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart