Having teenage children in my late 50s has challenged me to try entirely new forms of communication. “Like,” I now know all kinds of new texting acronyms and slang words. I’m also practicing being a better listener by consciously stopping whatever I’m doing, focusing my attention with smiling eyes and not saying anything…unless asked a direct question. I’ll be real: I fail plenty because conversations don’t always start at convenient times. Yet when I succeed, the reward is often an unanticipated hug…and that makes me want to try harder.
The goal of this listening exercise is to not just listen—but to shift into a receptive hearing mode while practicing it. If you want to try it yourself, don’t let anyone know you’re doing this. Just be as ordinary as possible; attentively listening, but without speaking. Answer any questions with as few words as possible and do not attempt to get the other person to ask you a question. Don’t give the impression that you’re suffering, zoning out or that you deserve a reward because all your listening is causing a bad headache.
Doing this exercise helps us realize a few things: how sometimes we might rush to speak because we are in a hurry; or, think we have all the answers; or because we’ve seen an expression on another’s face that we interpret as misunderstanding or confusion– we think we must interrupt and elaborate to find immediate resolution.
When I succeed in making my silence last, I feel stronger. Others feel heard. The longer I make my silences last, not just listening, but truly trying to hear what another is saying, the more thoughtful and purposeful the conversation seems to be.
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@DianGriesel is aka @SilverDisobedience — the author of The Silver Disobedience Playbook (link in my bio or buy one at amazon!) ✨ I’m a Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People. Modeling info @Wilhelminamodels —other info in my bio & on my websites.