How Well Do You Hear?
I am fully persuaded that the growing amount of confusion in the world is the result of our not paying attention to what we hear. I am further persuaded that this confusion began with the Tower of Babel and will continue until the end of time.
We all say, "Communication is the key", "Learn to communicate effectively and you will be more successful in your relationships." I believe every word of this, but the most important and yet untold secret of this is this, communication without wisdom is confusion multiplied. When you try and express yourself without the benefit of using wisdom, you set yourself up for trouble....
The best practice is learning when to speak and when to, pardon me, "shut-up!"
The majority of people try and listen to what others are saying. They or we try to understand exactly what is being said. There are different reasons for any problems with understanding. It may be vocabulary, language of origin or simply internal traffic. You know, the sound of your own thoughts when someone else is talking.
Children are perhaps the best listeners in the world because they don't have a lot of clutter in their minds to draw them away from what is being said. They simply take us at our word. We, on the other hand hear undertones, innuendos, mockery and disdain. We spend too much time in our defenses as people are talking. We plan how to get out of sticky situations, before we even are accused of being in the situation.
We hear through "the last thing you did to me",or though some other historical or emotional moment in time. Our minds are clouded and clutered with past events which color our hearing. Let's get free today. Let's practice listening to others so we can actually hear what is being said by others.
Would you just listen, please!
Probably one of the most under-exercised abilities of all mankind is the ability to listen. What makes us say things like, "I head what you said, but I know what you really mean." Some of us are notorious in this area. Someone will tell you they don't want to go to the store and the person they are speaking interprets that to mean they don't want to be with them. Sure, some people like to beat around the bush in their conversations, but for the most part, people tell you what they feel, unless they are straight-out lying, and, that is another subject altogether.
But, that's not what I meant....
I have not only been the victim of misunderstanding, but also the perpetrator of the same. I have been angry at people and could only hear their words through that anger. I have also been hurt by people and could hear nothing they said outside of the hurt I felt inside.
This is where wisdom comes in. If you have angered a person, you should not expect them to treat you as if you've done nothing wrong. If possible, you should try to make it right immediately. If you can't go to them, or can't make it right, you cannot get frustrated. You have to give them an opportunity to deal with their anger. Sometimes people need time to personally cope with theirfeelings before they can successfully communicate to you what those feelings are.
Shut It Up!
I was a good one for that...I would say something that made you mad and in my ignorance I would try to make you communicate with me. I wanted you to tell me what was wrong.
Now, that was the right idea, and it might have worked if I had mastered the wisdom and the art of "shutting-up", but I had not. The person would begin to talk and I would talk right with them, excusing myself with every word. Never allowing them the privilege of finishing what they were saying.
So intent was I on making sure they knew any hurt perpetrated by me was un-intentional that I never, ever let the person finish talking. I always interrupted them with my excuses. This was not a good example of effective communication and only proved to add to the frustration and anger of my friend.
Rule #1 - Shut-up, when you are right. Shut-up when you are wrong. Shut-up whenever you can!
A Vow of Hope
I don't know about you but, I vow to listen more intently to what others say, to work on not retreating into my own thoughts while another is talking and to abide by the rule of "shutting-up".
I also will manage my anger and communication shortcomings by understanding that people hear through their emotions or pre-determined notions....It takes the wisdom and timing of God to effectively communicate.
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