‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.’ – Stephen R. Covey
Listening and communicating are two of the most important things a person can learn in their life. It strengthens relationships, cures misunderstandings, releases stress and promotes overall better mental health.
All of us know how to listen and communicate, yet we don’t.
Personally, I am much better at the listening than the communicating. Letting people down, confrontation and saying ‘no’ are three things I struggle with the most. Three things I hope to not struggle with for much longer. They take the life out of me because I end up doing things with the wrong intention and a negative mindset.
Recently, a situation occurred where I sat and did the listening while someone close to me communicated how they felt. I did too much listening and they conveyed the message in a way they did not intend, the result – a misunderstanding.
This misunderstanding not only damaged our relationship but affected the life of a third party, a consequence that cannot be reversed.
Over the years I have learnt the following things:
- Humans don’t listen enough.
- Humans are excellent at talking about other people, putting others and themselves down and not owning up to their mistakes i.e. they communicate for all the wrong reasons.
- Humans don’t think before they talk – we were given a brain , let us use it wisely.
- Humans don’t ask enough questions, they assume.
- Humans struggle to put things into perspective – we are so caught up with ourselves.
I am guilty of all of the above, at some point in my life I have made those mistakes and because I am not perfect, I am sure I will at some point in the future. What I do know is that I try my best to be aware, to think, to listen, to not assume and to look for the best in people whenever I can. If you are trying your best, that is enough. There will come a time (I hope) when these processes will be running in the background, where I no longer have to be actively aware all the time and it becomes a life-changing habit. A protective factor that will not only strengthen my relationships but myself as a person as well as cause the least harm to others (humans, animals & the earth) mentally and physically.
5 things I am grateful for today:
- The sound of rain hitting my window – It hasn’t rained in a while, I am not particularly fond of rain but as I was awoken this morning to the sound of rain, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm.
- Hot showers – Showers not only leave me feeling cleansed physically but also mentally. On a bad day, a shower is my best cure.
- Food – Yesterday I ate way too much to make an ‘all you can eat’ menu worth my money. It wasn’t wise but I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed it.
- Nature – Even at its worst, it carries beauty.
- Company – Good company makes a splendid day.