Can you honestly say yes to this question? Have you ever “listened” to someone, only to realize you were planning your response the entire time? Or been in a situation where the conversation deteriorates to a sequence of statements and stories?
Listening is something simple that we can do for others, but the majority of the time we just look like we are listening. We could be daydreaming, thinking of a response, and or judging all while they are talking. These mistakes are simply signs that we are not hearing what another person is saying. And without active listening, it is difficult to explore a person’s actual feelings and thoughts, and by doing so, there wouldn’t be an engaging conversation where people feel respected—because you listened. Often our own agenda gets in the way of being a good listener. At this point in 2021 we all should be able to listen to our friends, family, and co-workers (whoever). We need to understand what the person is saying, really listen to how they are feeling and communicate with them. We all need that person or persons' in our lives that we can go to that will listen to our feelings could be good or bad. So many of us just “listen” and I am putting my foot down and saying that is not good enough anymore. In life we all go through so many emotions many of them we make up in our heads, but we need to be able to talk about them and really have someone listen and understand how we are feeling. Yes, you can pay all the money and sit on a couch with a stranger (no offense to therapy) and have them listen to you, but I want this blog to be about helping each other. Listening is not something hard to do, it is easy, just might need some practice. We don’t know what everyone’s daily struggle is and if we can help someone by just listening to their pain or heartache it helps tremendously. Positive psychology research highlights how pleasant social interactions increase our personal well-being and provide greater life satisfaction. One of the easiest ways to increase our well-being is via listening—actually listening. Personally, I don’t ever really say much to anyone when I am upset (something I am working on) because I don’t want to add stress to anyone. I of course have people in my life that I can go to and talk and they really listen and give conscious feedback without judgement. (shout out to you all) It’s tough to talk to others about your feelings especially if you have an ego (slightly trying to kick my ego’s ass) it’s hard to put your feelings and problems on others, but we have to! We have to open up, we have to communicate with each other, we have to acknowledge people’s feelings, have compassion, empathy for the way they are feeling… really listen. Listening also helps you as a individual feel more comfortable to talk to others as you will discover a sense of ease because you really thoughtfully listened to someone else. It provides great self-awareness (see below). I found a great acronym by Julian Treasure called RASA (meaning “juice” or “essence” in Sanskrit), to relay his steps for active listening, RASA stands for:
Receive. Appreciate. Summarize. Ask.
Let's pause here... read this acronym and really let it sink in.... OK... let's keep reading!
As we listen more sensitively to people, they start to listen to themselves more carefully and pay attention to their thoughts and feelings (Rogers & Farson, 1957). By practicing your listening skills, you can help your friends and colleagues become more self-aware too. You are also far more likely to develop and deepen these connections, which can feel good for our own needs. (I can't read that enough- so TRUE)! Next time you are talking to someone, make sure to dive into the R.A.S.A of good conversations, by doing this you will start to understand yourself and others more. I think many of you would be surprised of the outcome if you used R.A.S.A while listening. I feel many would be like, “OH, that is what you are saying!!” “I get it” !! How refreshing does that sound to really understand someone and at the same time it is opening up your heart to feel more, to be more compassionate to appreciate. The person speaking to you is obviously someone who you care for or is in your life for some reason so how great would it be to use those active steps! EUREKA! I get you! As I always say none of us are perfect, believe me I am working every day to be the best I can for myself and for others (why I write you all). We can only take things step by step day by day and believe in the good we all have to offer. Believe in helping each other get through the good times and the bad times. Really understand the other person and their feelings even if what they are saying is crazy or doesn't make any sense to you. It makes sense to them, so don't judge their feelings... appreciate it and ask! So let's practice R.A.S.A and as we do this we are again one step ahead of making our lives wonderful, and the lives of our loved ones beautiful.
MUCH LOVE, XOXO
"Active listening is a powerful growth technique!”
- Julian Treasure
- Fun Fact: I put in BOLD "step by step" i have been saying this a lot in my last few blogs. To only realize that my friend Keith posted on facebook: The song that was number one on your 7th birthday defines your 2021. Mine was Step by Step by New Kids on the Block. !!!