The art of listening begins with the ability to listen to oneself.
Listening is one of our most important skills that we must master. Indeed, listening makes a fundamental contribution to our well being and to the quality of our relations. At the same time, by learning to listen deeply, we can become a catalyst for change. Yet listening is among the most difficult techniques to master. This requires a serious effort.
When we do not feel that we are being listened to or understood, it can create conflict. A conflict is often a dialogue that is not heard. At the heart of the conflict is a breakdown in communication.
There is no conflict transformation, no resolution unless there is a shift in the dynamics of communication. Unless such a change is made, the parties are unable to connect, reframe their problems and explore possible solutions. To solve problems, we must first establish the conditions that allow effective communication. Attentive listening to the parties involved can create such conditions.
When you are Listened to With an Open Mind
In our own lives, we all know how important it is to feel listened to. When someone listens to us deeply and sincerely, we are capable of expressing ourselves, we lower our defences, we remove our masks.
I remember something like that in my own life. Two years ago, I was going through a very troubling time; I had so much to figure out that my emotions and my thoughts were clouded by confusion. One night, I called a friend and this verbal transaction elevated my energy level. My friend listened to me with a sincere heart and with an open mind, free of assumptions and judgment. So I was able to say what was going on deep down, and as I was speaking, I began to sort out my thoughts and emotions. A degree of clarity began to emerge and I was able to understand the next small step I would take in my life. A great and challenging journey thus started, which ultimately brought me to the happy and fulfilling life I have today. I was able to evolve, because I had found someone willing to listen to me, and I still appreciate my own evolution, driven by a desire for constant personal growth.
Self-awareness and Deep Listening
Self-awareness makes it possible to listen without prejudices or judgements that compromise healthy communication. Before we are able to listen to each other deeply, we must learn to listen to ourselves deeply. It is this self-awareness that helps us to understand the other’s frame of reference.
Deep listening is transformative, but transformation starts with developing self-awareness, that is, the ability to listen to yourself.