How many of us really listen when someone else is telling us something? Now the obvious suggestions are to leave your laptop closed and leave your cell phone on “off” or in “airplane mode.” At the very least, leave it in another room and if you hear the ring, ignore it until your present discussion is over. Remove yourself from as many distractions as possible. If you’re anything like me, you have to really focus on the words coming out of the person’s mouth and make a conscious effort to block out anything else that competes for your attention.
Love is listening with your heart, your mind, and your ears. It is the ability to really hear the other person without interruption or heaving suggestions at them, when all they want is to be heard. It’s making a conscience effort to really empathize and understand what the other person is saying without judgement. You can ask questions later but make sure you’ve really heard what they are saying first. A good way to do this is to ask if you can repeat back what they’ve just said. If you’ve never done this, you’ll be surprised to learn how often we put our words in another person’s mouth.
When you really hear what someone is saying, and you open yourself up to their perspective, you’ll find it harder to be offended or to strike back in defense or anger. I’m not saying it doesn’t ever happen, I’m as vulnerable as the next person, and I can get my “buttons pushed!” If you practice this technique of reflective listening, no matter what the other person is saying, you will experience personal growth in patience, love, and understanding. You will see your relationships blossom and grow in every way.