The Power of Cultivating Deep ListeningLuke Coutinho
Are you merely hearing or listening? Picture credits: All Ear Plugs
Listening is not a mere act, it’s a skill. Listening to understand, and not to reply, judge, or offer solutions. Just to understand. Every human being wants to be heard, and deep listening is healing and deeply comforting. Anyone who has owned a pet, and sat with them to share their deeply rooted emotions and thoughts without being interrupted (just a few affectionate licks maybe!), as a way of expressing would know the magic deep listening brings.
With over 9,000+ hours of experience in consulting patients across the world, we see how powerful deep listening can be. When a patient feels heard, cared for, understood, and knows that the other person is truly engaged in every word that comes from their mouth, the healing starts to begin right then. They begin to express from their heart, feel closer to you, and walk out of the room feeling much more relieved and light. Most of them do not need advice, but just need to be understood. This is also called compassionate listening and is a Buddhist concept often followed in Sangha communities. It is natural to have the desire to feel heard and understood and there is nothing wrong with that. (Wish to be a part of our Sangha community? Join us by clicking here!)
Hearing VS Listening
|Are you hearing?||Or listening?|
|Passive process||Active process|
|It is a mere act||It is a skill|
|Does not require conscious effort||Requires conscious effort|
|You only capture the speech or sounds||You understand a lot more about the person and can read in between the lines.|
Hearing and listening are not the same!
Hearing is a physical act of perceiving sounds or someone’s voice. You could be hearing but not really involved or paying attention to what the other person is saying. Deep listening, on the other hand, goes beyond hearing. It allows you to understand beyond what is spoken by the person. It helps you read in between the sentences they speak. It allows you to pick up the emotions, thought processes, energy, patterns, and mindset of that person. It allows you to understand the other person.
Deep listening to ourselves
Deep listening isn’t just about others, but also about yourself. We often look for solutions outside, but did you know that your body already has all the answers? For that, you must deeply listen. The skill of deep listening could help you with answers to your questions like – how much you should eat, which foods suit you, bloat you up, constipate you, trigger your gut symptoms, the exact gap you must keep between meals, hours of fasting you should adopt, and so on. So the next time you want to find an answer to these questions, stop yourself and instead turn inwards to deeply listen.
Even negative self-talk and the words you are unknowingly using to label yourself. Are you listening to that? One can very casually end up saying – I am ugly, I am lazy, I am good for nothing. But do you know your subconscious mind is listening to this and absorbing every whisper of yourself? If you are calling yourself lazy, then that is exactly what you are going to be. It’s an identity your brain has formed about you, and then you do everything to live up to it. So, you give up on exercising, do not move from the couch, fins short-cuts, because your brain and body need to live up to that identity and label.
Deep listening isn’t just about others, but also about yourself. Picture credits: Unsplash
What prevents you from listening to yourself or others?
There could be several reasons coming in the way that can prevent you from practicing deep listening. Some of them are:
When we place judgment on others or ourselves, we never allow ourselves to the space to listen, because we have already formed a preconceived notion about the person, or ourselves, or a particular situation.
There is nothing wrong with having an ego. Everyone has it. The problem is when it overpowers us and dictates how we should behave. It is our ego that comes in the way to protect our identity whenever there is a conflict. An untamed ego allows no space for deep listening.
- Lack of interest
It’s simple. One would only listen to another if there is true interest. Deep listening cannot be forced upon. If forced, you might be able to listen for a few minutes but not more than that.
- Lesser attention span
Listening demands attention, an undivided one. With so much distraction around us today, our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. The lesser the attention span, the harder it gets for a person to listen because there is always something that will seem more interesting than what the person has to pay attention to
Deep listening can deepen relationships and understanding between couples. Picture credits: Unsplash
Benefits of deep listening
- Begin the process of healing
If there is one thing we focus on creating during our personalized one-on-one consults, then it is a safe space for our client or patient to express and speak. Healing begins when you talk and know that there is someone to listen with understanding and compassion. It feels like releasing a lot of weight from your chest and shoulders just by the power of expression.
- Clear misunderstandings
The biggest problem today is that we do not listen to understand. We are quick to pass a judgment or claim. What if we could give the other person a space to express themselves? The term misunderstanding means – there has been a miss in understanding. Deep listening and allowing the other person to share what they want can help clear out misunderstandings or prevent them in a big way.
- Deepen relationships
As we consult clients worldwide, we understand that one of the primary issues in a relationship is a lack or breakdown in communication. Communication isn’t a one-way process. It is a two-way process. When one person expresses, another needs to listen with patience and understanding. If a partner does not get that in a relationship, they are bound to find it somewhere else. It is simple. There are cases where a person does not have the emotional bandwidth to listen to their partner, and deep listening can become difficult, but for every other relationship, communication and deep listening plays an integral role in sustaining the relationship.
How can you practice deep listening?
- Practice patience first
- Avoid multitasking
- Resist offering answers or solutions. Just listen.
- Do not attach any judgments
- Avoid giving sympathy or empathy
- Give them the gift of interrupted time
The skill of deep listening is helpful for but not just limited to nutritionists, doctors, and coaches. It is key to successful relationships at home, work, and between couples, personal growth, how we feel about ourselves when going through life’s ups and downs. There is a reason behind what people say – the more you listen, the more you learn.
We get approached by many individuals who want to give back to society and help people but are unsure because they aren’t doctors, nutritionists, or yoga experts. Well, you do not have to be one to give back and help others. In rushed and fast-paced times like now, not many people can offer the space of listening. But you can be that person! Practice the gift of deep listening and watch how many lives you touch and transform. Give it a try.
Want to create a safe space for expression for you without being judged? We understand how healing it can be for you. Work one-on-one with our life coaches to express yourself, whether it’s your thoughts, fears, mindsets, beliefs, or anything else coming in your way to living your best life. Call us on 18001020253 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your life coaching session today.
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