So last month (February, for those of you keeping track) was all about listening. I learned how to be a better listener to my friends, family and students using the RASA technique, by eliminating distractions, even by paying attention to how members of the deaf community "listened" to each other.
And I learned not just how to listen to words, but also how to listen to bodies.
It's also important to know when to listen to myself and when to NOT to listen to myself.
Listen to yourself when:
You're trying to BE yourself, but others are telling you to change (this is not to be mistaken for actual poor behavior which should be corrected...)
Your body tells you something. Bodies are very good at letting you know when you're tired, hungry, over-sugared, need a walk, a nap, a night off...etc. But the problem is we often overlook and dismiss our needs in the face of work or other obligations.
Alternatively, DO NOT listen to yourself when:
You're on a downward spiral of negative self-talk. Being gentle with ourselves is directly connected to listening to ourselves and not beating ourselves up about every little thing. No "I'm fat, I'm ugly, I'm stupid, I'm..." We wouldn't *listen* to this nonsense if it came from someone else. So why listen to it when it comes from our own mouths or minds?
So after a month (admittedly, the shortest month), have I confirmed for myself my belief that there is power in listening?
Here are my Top 5 reasons for believing listening can be powerful:
1) There is power in leadership and leaders are great listeners.
2)When people feel "listened to" they feel understood. And we tend to feel fondness for those who understand us. Therefore, listening is an excellent way to make allies and strengthen bonds.
3) Listening can be a way to hold your cards close. When you listen, you forgo talking. Talking is a way to reveal a lot about yourself, including flaws and weaknesses. But by listening, you can ask the questions, gather the intel, and keep the conversation going without actually revealing much about yourself at all.
4) Listening detects falsehoods and deception.
5) We live in a world of distractions. Very few people are actually listening or paying attention to the world around them. By listening, it almost always gives you the upperhand because you are more aware of what is happening around you.
So there you have it, the power of listening. And now, a new month, new challenge!