There is a simple solution to the problem of missed communication: instead of listening to formulate a response, try listening to understand the other person.
Too often we want to appear clever to others, so we do what we’ve always done: we answer (in our minds) before the other person has finished saying their words aloud.
So you can imagine how that works out. In choosing our words (sometimes) carefully, we forget to hear what is really being said, what story is actually going on behind the scenes in another’s mind.
How Are You, Today?
When you ask this question, are you really looking to get an answer other than “Fine…how are you?” The person you’ve asked has to weigh up the odds that you are really only acting out a daily routine of social interaction. That’s why this never leads anywhere.
Josh Reid Jones has put together a little schematic which shows the steps that will bring about a change in the outcome:
It’s the second action that stands out for me: Listen without judgement. When we do that, we are ‘hearing’ what the person is actually saying, not what we’re expecting to hear.
In many ways, the person responding will let something ‘slip’ past their own internal censor, thus allowing you to know the truth of their situation. In hypnotherapy (and other psychological processes), we refer to them as Freudian slips.
Although we all try to hide behind our public persona, there is a part of us that wants to share our truth, no matter how painful to our self-esteem.
Counselors, ministers, priests, and therapists understand that true healing cannot take place unless that ‘small voice’ is heard loud and clear.
Be, Hear, Now
Spiritually, we are all connected. Culturally, we are divided. Through really listening to other people’s viewpoints and accepting their truth as valid can we hope to bridge the divide in everyday life.
Will you hear me now?