Compassionate Listening


In our daily encounters, there may be misunderstandings about what was said or what we think we heard. Often times we jump to conclusions, creating many of our problems. Through our personal perceptions, we pass judgment on a situation, conversation or person. Before drawing any conclusions, we should really remember that there are so many layers to everything and we are not always seeing or listening, I mean really listening. We are so quick to judge but we don’t always see the complete picture.

Start to practice listening. We are so busy making sure that people hear what we have to say that we forget to listen. We hear mostly what we want to hear, not what the other person is trying to communicate to us. Many conflicts can be resolved easily, if we just listen. I have been more aware of recent conversations, judgments and thoughts and realize that there are times I am not always completely listening.  How many of us are listening to a friend, family member or colleague, but throughout the conversation our mind wanders, or while in a heated discussion, we may be thinking about what we are going to say next. When we are listening to someone speak, we pay attention to their appearance, what’s happening around us, what we have to do later, often only hearing fragments of what the other person actually said. The other person may not realize it but they are left feeling like something is missing. This feeling of something missing can present itself in many ways. Some people turn to comfort foods to fill the void.

We all want to be heard, and what we put out there is oftentimes what we get back. Remember, for every action there is a re-action.

When I am with a client I am completely focused on every aspect of that person, reading between the lines to come up with the best solutions. After a session with a client, I often feel energized. I realize that it’s because I shift the focus away from myself and that allows the universal source of energy and light to come in.

We also have to listen to our inner voice and stop distracting ourselves with food, television and addictions, and allow our inner voice to be heard and connect to the divine presence inside us. Allow yourself to feel the range of your feelings and don’t try to hide behind all the layers. Meditate on how you are feeling, instead of being emotionally reactive. Take time to reflect, and you may gain new insight into an aspect of yourself that needs tending to. Spiritual crying, allowing yourself to feel things really deeply, is cathartic; as we feel our pain, and that of the world, we feel more connected, more whole. We then receive clarity and understanding. Sometimes we need to experience loss, for us to realize what is real.

The external is only the vehicle for the inner experience. When you focus entirely on the external, things like diets don’t work. We have to get to the inner source of why we are where we are, in order to make lasting changes. Ask yourself, how did I get here? How many times have we been on autopilot while driving, completely in our heads, and all of a sudden we arrive and can’t recall the actual drive? It’s scary that we can tune out and go about our daily activities without being mindfully present. The same can happen with food and weight gain. All of a sudden, we wake up 50 pounds heavier not knowing how we got here.

In order to lose the weight successfully we need to get to the place where it all began, what led us to make the wrong choices. We need to listen to our inner voice and to what our bodies are trying to tell us.

So how do we transform and grow to become good listeners? We need to listen carefully to what is and what is not being said and learn to be a good, compassionate listener. Develop the desire to listen. Start wanting to hear what other people around you have to say.

We do not always hear things correctly. This includes the things said and not said and those implied by silence. Always ask for clarification, don’t automatically react.  Realize that not everything is about us.

Don’t be quick to judge yourself or others, or see yourself as better than others or being jealous of others accomplishments.  When you feel you are being judged, you are the one judging.

Watch what you say. One of the hardest things for us to do is to refrain from gossiping. We need to practice refraining from speaking negatively about others or ourselves. Words are powerful and realize the effect our words have on another person. So be mindful of what you say.

When having a discussion always let the other person speak. Practice the 70/30 rule when someone needs to discuss something with you. You listen 70% of the time and you talk 30%. Don’t interrupt, even though its so tempting to interrupt, so you can say what you need to say.

Practice listening and refrain from speaking and you might find that what you thought you needed to say in the end wasn’t necessary. Become a compassionate listener.

Compassionate listening is the art of communicating to the other person that you’re hearing their every word. Your relationships will improve!

©2018 Ara Wiseman Nutrition & Healing. All Rights Reserved.

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