Active listening is the ability to feel the other person as part of us. A whole art that demands to remove the autopilot to give way to the opening and understanding of different perspectives.
- 1 What is active listening?
- 2 The mental noises that prevent us from hearing
- 3 Learn to listen from the heart
What is active listening?
On a theoretical level, Active listening is defined as a communication technique and strategy which encompasses all those behaviors and attitudes that cause the recipient to concentrate on the person who speaks and can provide answers. So in order to actively listen to a person you have to be free of thoughts and distractions that prevent you from capturing what the other person is telling you.
So, Active listening is not only understanding what the other says but capturing what he does not say and above all, sustain your emotional state. The problem is that most of us hear more than we listen. In fact, according to one study, most people are unable to actively listen to their interlocutor for more than 3 minutes in a row. Incredible true?
So if we consider that Communicate is not just about sending a message but knowing how to receive it and above all, understanding What the other person wants to tell us, how many times are we really communicating? Few, very few ... Now, to achieve this there is no better remedy than to practice active listening when we interact.
The mental noises that prevent us from hearing
If you think about it, on most occasions while our interlocutor is speaking, we are preparing the answer that we are going to give you when you finish. In others, our mind is so overloaded with information and thoughts that listening is impossible and more than talking about what we do is emit monologues defending our point of view or losing ourselves in our world.
These interferences that hinder the task of actively listening are usually our thoughts and are known as mental noises. They are responsible for our distractions when we talk and who sometimes make us hurt.
Our mind speaks to us at all times if we leave it, so if we want to listen we need to learn to silence it. How? Stopping, breathing and waiting for a few minutes to slow down. We have to learn to get rid of the mental garbage that accompanies us and dump all our senses on the person in front of us.
Learn to listen from the heart
Listening is not giving advice but supporting the message and emotions of our interlocutor, embracing its existence sincerely and enhancing our empathic capacity. All an attitude in which you have to be free of judgments and busy paying attention.
Active listening is a challenge that requires technique and practice but above all feelings and willingness to discover other worlds and other points of view from humility and contemplation. Because as the popular saying states if we have two ears and one mouth is to listen more and talk less. Perhaps if we practiced it a little more many of the misunderstandings that arise in our day to day would not occur or be solved in a simple way. Winston Churchill already said "It takes courage to stand up and talk. But much more to sit and listen to".
Finally, I let you enjoy this beautiful text by R. O'Donnel about listening that from time to time it would not be bad to consult:
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to advise me, you are not doing what I have asked you.
When I ask you to listen to me and you start telling me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are not respecting my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you think you should do something to solve my problem, you are disappointing my hopes.
Listen to me! All I ask is that you listen to me, I don't want you to talk to me or to bother you for me. Listen to me, just that.
It is easy to advise. But I am not incapable. I may find myself discouraged and troubled, but I am not incapable.
When you do what I can do for myself and I need to do, you are not doing anything other than fueling my fears and my insecurity.
But when you accept me, simply, that what I feel belongs to me, no matter how irrational, then I don't have to try to make you understand more and I have to start discovering what's inside of me. "