Thursday, September 19, 2013

listening well

I have developed over the last year a new pet peeve.  I really get frustrated when people don't listen well.  And I've discovered that very few people actually do listen well.  I know that often people are planning their response to what you are saying before you have even finished your thought. It is so common that I have recently made a conscious effort to be fully present when I am talking with someone.  You know, that whole, "Wherever you are, be all there" philosophy.

Though thinking ahead isn't actively listening, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as when someone hears something other that what I am saying.  Like for instance, I have had a few people refer to how difficult it must be to have my husband unemployed.  But I never said he was unemployed.  What I said was that he is working on getting his new business off the ground. Grrr...weren't you LISTENING?

And as I have mentally been allowing myself to get frustrated when I am not listened to, and I have stopped offering deeper conversation to those who don't hear it anyway, I have found myself guilty of the very thing that drives me batty.  Yesterday Hubby was telling me a story about his day.  Mid- sentence I interrupted him to ask if the new bottle of Advil on the computer was from his parents.  I saw the look.  The flicker of disappointment cross his face and then the conversation coming to a close because he didn't want to talk if I wasn't going to listen. 

I thought back through the last month how many times I have seen that look.  I was crushed when I realized that I was a person who wasn't listening well.  Not only was I guilty of not actively listening and not being fully present, I was guilty of those things with the person I love the most. I'm thankful for grace.  I'm thankful for perspective.  I'm thankful that Hubby was gracious and forgiving when I pulled him away and apologized for not listening well. And I'm thankful that today is a new day and another chance to be fully present with those I love.

"The eagerness of a listener quickens the tongue of a narrator." ~Jane Eyre 

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