Something I read today got me thinking today about how we really do not listen to others very often. We often are so anxious to push our experiences, feelings and opinions on others we miss what others experiences, feelings and opinions actually are. Actually, at one level we maybe just trying to connect by saying , “oh yeah, I went to that restaurant, city, country or whatever as well”. That “sameness” can feel comforting at times, however, sometimes when someone has “done” that to me, I do not really feel listened to and in some cases if they did the thing I did, but in a bigger way, I can feel a bit “smaller” sometimes. Certainly conversations can be unconscious ego competitions as well. For me sometimes, I’ll stop the depth of my conversation saying to myself, well if they are not going to listen, I’ll move on. The energy of the conversation has shifted for me. So much for the sameness!
I’m playing with my listening practice, by really listening and asking open ended questions about others experience, How did it feel? What did it look like?, smell like? What did it mean to you? Do you want to do that again and why? Expanding my understanding of how important this experience was to this person as I can and maybe even try this persons shoes on for a second or how life looks through their eyes. While doing so, keeping my experiences to myself, unless asked. This is hard to do sometimes! But, do I really need to tell someone I have mountain biked that trail a hundred times while their in the middle of explaining their excitement for riding it for the first time?
I feel we can miss an opportunity to connect at a deeper level, understand a friend better, or even hear the other side of an argument that you totally disagree with: well at least the first two!