Being an older Mother who had her first child at 40 — thus teenagers in my 50s and even one still at 62 — has challenged me to try entirely new forms of communication. “Like,” I now know all kinds of new texting acronyms and slang words. It has also tested my listening skills, forcing me to become 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. In fact, I might say they rarely do! Yet when I succeed in connecting, the reward is often an unanticipated hug…and that makes me want to try harder. Another benefit is that by focusing in on listening, I’ve reduced my moments of regret — when I later realize I agreed to something all because I wasn’t listening!
My goal in becoming a better listener is not just to 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.
I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience — the author of The Silver Disobedience Playbook (buy one at amazon!) ✨ I’m a Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People. Modeling info at Wilhelmina Models —other info in my bio & on my websites.