Listening vs. Hearing

Listening vs. Hearing. So as some folx who are close to me can attest I, like most of us, can operate with some blinders on in certain areas. Long before I put on my ministerial shoes I was a psychotherapist. Along with my psychotherapist badge came the medal of “perfect listener”. Now, I guess I should insert that this was a self bestowed medal of my own creation. This title was put to the test when I, due to some physical limitations of a patient, had to their read lips for the entirety of our session together. This experience, I must say, brought me down a few notches and had me wanting to return my “perfect listener” honor. I became aware that my true “listening” percentage was far lower than I would like to admit. Often we can hear the sound of another’s voice, but we are waiting or thinking about what we are going to say next, what is the next thing on our list, or what we are going to cook for dinner that evening….or a thousand other things other than what the person in front of us is saying. The act of listening, however, is a next level experience. When we cultivate listening we are living in the present moment, fostering connection and creating a space where others can be seen and heard. We can only do this when we intentionally let go of the swirl in our own heads and focus on creating the container for others to speak their voice into without the avalanche of our own thoughts and words crushing them. Listening opens the door for authenticity and connection. It invites others to pull up a chair and relax into the space we have created, and I can’t think of any better space to be.

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