If You Want To Be Understood.......

On my way from work last Friday, the radio played the song I will always love you by Whitney Houston (This is not a post about love, keep reading!). I have heard this song several times before. In fact, this was played at a wedding I recently attended. Come to think of it, for many wedding occasions this song is an obvious choice. I was confused….

Bittersweet memories
that is all I'm taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't cry.
We both know I'm not what you, you need.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.


If one examines the lyrics, the chorus is all lovy, dovy. However, I wouldn’t consider other parts of the song, appropriate for a wedding. I sure won’t be playing this song at my wedding!

This song is several years old. Yet, in 2008, I finally figured out what the song is really about. How many years did it really take?

Why am I bringing up this song and its lyrics? Well, I believe that song lyrics,(like many things!) we don’t listen to, well enough. To the people around us, to the people that are important to us. I wonder, how much do I listen to what people are saying? How many times have people tried to tell me things and I haven’t listened? Oh, I thought I heard, just like I thought I heard the words to I will always love you. But I wasn’t grasping the entire meaning.

Listening is so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we really are. So from this experience, I resolved to do my best to not just to hear the words people are saying, but grasp the meaning; grasp the totality. Easier said than done though!

So, are you a good listener?
Do you make regular eye contact with the speaker?
Do you ask questions for clarification?
Do you show concern by acknowledging feelings?
Do you restate or paraphrase some of the speaker’s words to show that you understand?
Do you seek first to understand, then to be understood?
Are you poised and emotionally controlled?
Do you react non-verbally, with a smile, a nod, a frown, or a touch (if appropriate)?
Do you pay close attention and do not let your mind wander?
Do you act responsibly on what you hear?
Do you stick to the subject?



Nothing hurts more than the sense that people close to us, aren’t really listening, to what we have to say. We never outgrow the need to communicate what it feels like to live in our separate, private worlds of experience. I suppose, being listened to, spells the difference between feeling accepted and feeling isolated.
The bitter truth is we can hear something without choosing to listen.





Roadblocks To Listening


## Preoccupation
It’s the weekend. The sun is beaming, there’s a slight breeze, and as you sip frozen lattes with your husband, talking about your latest accomplishment at work, you are startled; you see your husband’s eyes have suddenly popped out of his head! Of course, you can’t help but turn around to see what’s caught his attention. It’s a perfectly coiffed, shiny French manicured, expensively dressed women teetering by!

When your child returns from school, she is eager to tell about her day. You just got back from a hectic day at office. Before you know it, your daughter starts talking. Yet, all you can think of is how you are going to finish the “homework” you brought from office, before tomorrow morning!

Do I need to present any more examples? I think you get my point. I am sure we are all guilty in more ways than one. The thing is, we don’t intend the hurt the other person, the reaction just happens!

## What am I going to say next?
Before the start of my official lecture schedule in the first semester, the university organized an “Orientation day”. It was held with the intent of introducing the lecturers, as well as, the students to get to know each other. After the initial talk by the dean (to my utter horror!), he asked each of us to stand and say a few words about ourselves. While each person stood up and recited a few things, all I could think was "Oh no, it's going to be my turn to talk soon, and I won't know what to say (I was really shy way back then!)" that I didn’t hear what the other person was saying.

Did you every get caught up in thinking about your next point, that you weren’t listening to the other person?

Lesson Learned: Don't think about what you are going to say next, because while you are thinking, you're not listening!

## "seek first to understand, then to be understood..." ~Stephen Covey
Most of the time, we think that we are hearing what the other person is saying. But most of the time we just hear the things we want to hear. And we take that to be the entire meaning. You heard what you wanted to hear, instead of the message spoken.

Sometimes people are so concerned about making their point and getting what they want, they forget about listing to the other person’s side. Even if you disagree, and want to make a point, you’ll do well to first understand their point of view, then make yours known.

To listen skillfully is difficult. To listen impeccably, with fixed, full attention is a discipline much like mediation! It requires practice, rigor, and resolve. Make a conscience effort to the practice of listening; starting now!

If you want to be understood…. Listen.
"Real communication occurs when we listen with understanding. It means to see the expressed idea and attitude from the other person’s point of view, to sense how it feels to be him, to achieve his frame of reference in regard to the thing he is talking about." ~Carl Rogers

Is listening something you need to give attention to, in your life? Does listening come naturally to you? Do you have any experiences to share? Please leave your comments.

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16 comments:

kenju said...

Thanks for the visit and the nice comment. I love your cartoon and the joke below.

Enhance Life said...

Glad you enjoyed the cartoon :-)

paul maurice martin said...

Good points. I remember reading a book on "active listening" when I was in grad school for counseling that discussed this kind of approach.

Smalltown RN said...

Frist let me thank you for the visit to my blog...if you don't mind me asking, how did you find me?

Now about your post....I loved what you said...."You heard what you wanted to hear, instead of the message spoken". I fear I have been guilty of that ....as an RN I really try to hone me listening skills, as I find it's the little things the patient shares with me often have the most impact and sometimes can determine course of treatment and the likes. It is my personal life that I fear I am not as attentive as I should be...it's funny...you know how they say we are the toughest on the ones we love....I think that applies to listening as well...it's like yeah yeah...I hear you...sometimes...I can hear my husbands voice see his lips move...and I haven't a clue as to what he is saying...I get this glazed look...he'll then say to me...your not listening to me are you? He is so right....

I to wonder why people chose songs that they do for weddings or funerals....sometimes I ask myself...did they really listen to the lyrics?

Great post...and again thanks for the visit...

the1truecoolguy said...

Great post!!

"To listen skillfully is difficult. To listen impeccably, with fixed, full attention is a discipline much like mediation! It requires practice, rigor, and resolve. Make a conscience effort to the practice of listening; starting now!"

Well said! :)

Catherine M said...

Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I find myself waiting for someone to finish speaking so I can say what I'm going to say. It's much more fun (and difficult) to wait until they've finished and actually respond to what they say.

Mark said...

Listening is one of the key skills in life and most people are not very good listeners. You have provided some valuable tips and a great reminder to all of us to really listen.

A Simple Life said...

Hi Sham! I must admit I am not a good listener, you pointed it out really well. Thank you so much for reminding me. ;)

Good post! Thanks also for dropping by and your kind comment.

Cheers!

Hopeful Spirit said...

Thanks for participating in The Seventh Day blog carnival! This is a wonderful post . . . "Nothing hurts more than the sense that people close to us, aren’t really listening, to what we have to say." So true and such a problem these days will all of the electronics and gadgets we are constantly competing with!!

Hope you will participate again in the future!

Gattina said...

There is a big difference between hearing and listening. I wouldn't play this song either on a wedding if I would understand the words. I remember when I bought my first Elvis records I didn't understand a single word because I didn't speak any english and then years later when finally I understood it was so amazing that some songs I loved had a real stupid text and others I loved less the text was good. I always try to listen because if you listen you always learn something.
I am here on my 7th day !

JHS said...

Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at A Child Chosen. The Carnival will be live on Monday, February 5, 2008, so I hope you and your readers will stop by and check out all of the fabulous entries included this week!

Deborah said...

This article has been included in the 4 February 2008 edition of Mom's Blogging Carnival

d.edlen said...

A Covey quote, nice. "7 Habits" was very helpful for me. I'm going to read it again soon. I think I'll find more good stuff to think about and apply. Listening is something we always have to work on because it's challenging as we grow ourselves to not start to want to share more than be shared with, and then we end up talking more than listening. I know I do that sometimes when I meet new people because recently I've gotten in the habit of being overly self-promoting in order to be noticed as an artist. Yet then I start to overwhelm people with stuff about me, rather than trying to include them in it. I think I've done that a bit on my blog too, as I find my "voice" online.
Peace.

Patricia Singleton said...

The hardest part of being a good listener is to still that voice in your head that is busy thinking about what you are going to say when the other person shuts up.

Anonymous said...

Listening problems already
Why someone would use that as the start to a marriage??
The song was written in 1973 by Dolly Parton when she ender her relationship with porter Wagoner

joko lethek said...

but the truth is never.
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