There's a difference between hearing and listening. The way I was taught, hearing has to do with our ears, but listening comes from the heart. As a counselor I listen for feelings when people speak to me. I try to figure out how they are affected by what they are revealing.
If you are interested, I would like to teach you the art of reflective listening. I was teaching this in a group with two interns observing me and one of them explained a bit surprised, we're studying reflective listening in graduate school. This is a really important skill, and you can get better with practice. Dr. John Gray
PhD. wrote Men Are from Mars Women Are From Venus which helped me understand the differences between men and women. Basically, he states that men want to fix things and women just need to talk to process. Can you see the problem here? During my marriage, I read his book and I began to ask my former husband to just listen. He said that he was relieved.
Here are some tips to enhance your listening skills:
1. Make eye contact-get down to their eye level (if a child.)
2. Acknowledge their feelings with words: "Oh, Mm, I see, Really, and Yes"
3.Hear and define the feeling-ask yourself, "What is he or she feeling?"
4. Reflect back the feeling-use the feeling in a sentence, with adults use these formulas!
"You seem _________ fill in the feeling,
because _____________ put the reason why."
" You seem upset because you did not get that promotion."
"It seems unfair that you have to pay so much money for your insurance."
"I'm sensing that you're a bit jealous."
"Could it be that you felt relieved that you did not have to go."
With younger children you can actually teach them about feelings by telling them what they are feeling.
"You feel ______ because ______." Name the reason why.
"You feel happy because you played with the puppy."
"You're feeling sad because it's raining you can't go in the pool."
"You're excited because your birthday is tomorrow."
If you would like more information, an excellent book titled, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, is full of great information on this subject.
The way you know you're doing well is when you listen and state the feeling and the person says,
"Yes, I thought I had that promotion."
"Right, I've never paid this much for insurance."
"Exactly, that is exactly how I feel."
Do not worry if you are wrong, because that gives the person a chance to tell you and you work from there. The beauty of being a great listener is a person feels understood when they talk to you. Your conversations can also go deeper and become more real. When you utilize this skill, adults and children will come to you when they need to talk and your relationships will be better than ever.
I hope everyone has someone in their life that is a good listener for them. Now you have to idea. All you need to do is strengthen your listening skills and be that person for others.
Perhaps you may want to share this with someone and help them to listen to you and others better.