Are you listening?

Do you have to ask others to repeat something they said? Does your partner get frustrated because you interrupt before she is through speaking? Do you change the subject because you don't want to listen to what another person is saying? Do many of your conversations with family end up in an argument?

Many people take a passive approach to listening. This can cause communication problems. Good listening is actually an active process. Effort and commitment are required to be a good listener. There is more to listening than Just hearing the words that are said. You can learn a lot by listening for the feelings being expressed.

If you often think I don't need to hear the rest of what he is saying because I already know what he will say, you may be using "mind reading." If you are thinking about what you are going to say instead of listening, you may be using "rehearsing." If your mind wanders instead of listening, you may be "daydreaming." If you refuse to listen to another point of view or additional information, you may be using "being right." All of these are blocks to listening.

Pay attention over the next few days and see if you are actively or passively listening. No need to judge or criticize yourself. Just be aware. Once you identify your style of listening, you can begin to improve your listening skills.


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