Holy Listening

When we are listening to someone, we need to remember that we are listening to a child of God. That person is God’s creation. It is important that we honor that. One way we can grow in holiness is to learn to listen with the heart and not just with the mind.

I want to relate to you some things I’ve learned and observed about how we listen (or don’t listen) that may be of benefit to you.

How well do you listen to others? Here are some (bad) habits you (or others you know) may have:

Motor Running: You physically hear what the person is saying, but you’re busy formulating your response rather than really listening.

Action: If your motor is always running, try to tune out what is distracting you from listening.

The Fixer: Similar to motor running. You are thinking of ways to fix an issue when you haven’t listened to the entire dialogue. It could be your response would be different if you listen to the entire story first. After all, how can you give a proper response to something when you haven’t let the person finish speaking?

Action: Realize that you may not have to fix something. It may be the person just needs someone to listen. Taking that pressure off to find a solution frees you to be present to them and just listen.

Tuning out/mind wandering: In this case, you’re really being inattentive. Unless you focus on what is actually being said as well as the spirit in which it’s said, you won’t receive or perceive the real message. You take a chance on misunderstanding, and that can be a dangerous thing. They could be telling you something important, either for them or yourself.

Remember that listening–hearing the words being spoken–is only 7% of communication. That means that 93% is nonverbal! Breaking that 93% down, 55% is body language and 38% is tone of voice. Is the individual sad, agitated, excited or sarcastic?

Action: To listen in a holy way, you must listen to the message behind the words. You must listen with your heart. Then, real communication becomes possible.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

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