Here’s the truth about me. I am not the world’s greatest listener. Never have been. I have a bad habit of . . . drifting . . .
It’s not intentional.
It’s just that there are so many thoughts and ideas in my head, my attention gets diverted.
And, I have a bad habit of multitasking.
This doesn’t go unnoticed.
Early on in my marriage to Brian, he would often say to me “you’re not listening.”
I would get defensive, disagree, and most of the time would be able to repeat back to him his last sentence . . . but he was right.
I may have heard him but my attention was divided between whatever he was saying and the words in my head.
Brian is about as easygoing as a human being can be, but my “not listening” was a real challenge for both of us.
One day, as I glimpsed a look of disappointment on his face when he caught me (again) drifting, I suddenly realized,
“If I don’t learn to really listen to him, he will find someone who will.”
I realized my drifting was not only a bad habit that needed to be corrected, but that active listening is an act of love, something I wasn’t giving.
I wish I could tell you that I am now the world’s greatest listener.
I’ve gotten much better and there is room for improvement.
Recently, my friend Dave Ellis gave a talk to a bunch of us attending the Transformational Leadership Council meeting in Hawaii on “Listening for Brilliance.”
He challenged us to first write down our own ideas of what “listening for brilliance” could possibly be. Here’s what I (and others) came up with:
Listen like they are the most important person in the world to you.
Listen so they feel totally seen and heard.
Listen for and from love.
Listen for a message from God.
Listen like it matters.
Listen like it will save my life.
Listen like a lover on a first date.
Listen without an agenda.
I began to imagine how I would feel if every time I spoke, my words were received like this! This conversation about listening really opened my heart and my ears to greater possibilities to become a better listener in all of my relationships.
How will being a better listener transform your relationships?
Arielle Ford is a gifted writer and the author of eight books including her latest Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships and the international bestseller, THE SOULMATE SECRET: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction. She lives in La Jolla, CA with her husband/soulmate, Brian Hilliard and their feline friends.