Do You Hear What I Hear?

Care. Compassion. Concern.

How many times have your loved ones expressed themselves by telling you what to do and how to do it. Did you feel that they were being bossy, or even downright controlling? You may have even muttered under your breath or snapped at them, declaring that you could take care of yourself. Thank you. Very. Much!

However, when you begin pushing those words and sentences aside, you begin to unearth the true meaning. In many cases, what your friends and family were likely saying, but not expressing, is that they care for you and your safety.

Recently, I read that handwriting is becoming a lost art. Society is bombarded with instant this and super-fast that. As a result, our attention spans are being trained to become shorter. Subsequently, listening skills become weaker.

Learning to listen beneath the words is a skill that can be practiced. The possibilities for practice are endless. What a compliment to the speaker when they realize you really do want to know and understand what is being communicated.

Did you know that stress impairs our ability to hear and listen?

But first, let's delve into the Oxford dictionary:

  • Hear: perceive with the ear the sound made by someone or something; listen or pay attention to.
  • Listen: give one's attention to a sound; take notice and act upon what someone says; respond to advice or a request.

In my Bachelor of Education classes, in what seems ages ago, a great deal of stress was placed upon discerning the difference between hearing and listening and how it pertains to education. In a word, comprehension.

However, now that I have hearing loss, it is evident to me that without hearing, it becomes more challenging to comprehend. Add stress into the mix and the ability to hear and listen is diminished.

The short answer is that stress hijacks your attention - you may find that you are paying more attention to whatever it is that is stressing you. Stress is like a toddler who is in the throes of the Terrible Twos. The difference is that the toddler outgrows the T.T.'s.

What often happens with stress is that the signs and symptoms become more entrenched, more pronounced, unless you take action and arm heart yourself with tools and techniques that allow you to stop the activation of the stress response.

How? By learning to balance the two branches of your nervous system - treating the cause of stress and not just the symptoms. Check out Eighteen Easy Ways To Be Kind to get started.

To improve your listening skills, pause, breathe, do a technique and turn off that cacophonous sound otherwise known as stress. Then, you'll start to hear and listen for the care, compassion and concern. There's another stress undresser.

As usual, when a post begins to take shape, I find that other people are writing on a similar theme. Here are two women I respect, both of whom have recently penned their own thoughts on this subject. For your reading pleasure, please check out Hear the Meaning, Not Just the Sound and Pause to Listen & Learn.

2 Replies to “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

  1. Marianna,
    What a great post and some strong clarifications here.

    While many people write about the ingredients for good listening skills, and a multiplicity of others claim to have developed robust skills in this area, few of us really ‘get it.’ Or, even if we do, we often lose sight of how to exercise and muscle up those skills.

    I especially love that you provided an Oxford definition. In particular, the ‘take notice and act upon what someone says’ part. Listening, indeed, is active!

    Bravo! Another meaningful, homerun post!


    1. Now, it’s my turn to give you a high five, Jacqui.

      No wonder you’re so skilled at distilling one’s career experiences into a work of career art. You have the ability to get to the heart of the matter, regardless of whether it is a blog post, a tweet, or in your own writings.

      Thanks for your visit!

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