Listen with a Filter
To listen is to give one’s attention – it’s a gift. You are actively taking notice of and acting on what someone says. When we listen with a filter, we remove ourselves from the equation. The act of listening is no longer about what is going on in our head, what we are reacting to, or what we plan to say next.
To listen with a filter is to be self-aware – it’s a practice. Being present and observing someone, that is one of the most considerable acts of kindness. I promise that these three lessons in self-awareness will transform your communication and, thereby, your relationships.
Lesson 1: Intention
Assume the Person isn’t Intentionally Trying to be Mean.
More often than not, when we listen, we filter what we hear through our own perception. This filter is as flawed as those proverbial rose-colored lenses. The blind spots will leave you feeling empty or, even worse, hurt. It’s like wearing blinders to a conversation; trust me, we all do it from time to time.
What was said and what was heard is colored by intention. Most people have good intentions. Most people aren’t trying to be mean. Believing that someone has bad intentions obstructs your perception and filters out the good. Instead, listen with a filter aimed at greater understanding. You will be as humbled as I was by the power of your communication.
Lesson 2: Pause
Pause to Take a Breath Before Responding.
Before you skip ahead to your response – take a moment to pause. (Shoot! Were you already planning on what to say next? That’s okay, me too.) Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly.
Think of a pause like creating space. A pause gives you time to transition from being fully present to what was said to observing what has been heard. Take a moment to reflect before you react.
Just like breath creates space in your lungs, a pause creates space in the conversation. You are actively creating space for greater understanding. You are making room for powerful communication. If you listen with a filter, you empower yourself to bridge the gap between your own perception and someone else’s.
Lesson 3: Wait
Do your Best to Not Talk Over Someone before They’re Finished Speaking.
Attentive listening – being present and observing someone – calls on you to take notice of eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and hand gestures. If you are genuinely interested in what someone has to say, then talking over them is not the way to show it. Wait until they’ve finished their thought.
Trust me; it’s easier said than done! Remember that listening has less to do with you and more to do with the other person. To listen with a filter is to have enough self-awareness to be aware of someone else. Perhaps you repeat or paraphrase what you have heard before you act on what someone has said. (Try it – It works wonders!)
Whatever you do, show the person that you truly understand what they have said. It’s not easy to do, but when you do it, when you really listen, you change the nature of your relationships with people.
LOVE IT!: I LOVE MY ABILITY TO AND HOW EASY IT IS TO GET ALONG WITH PEOPLE.
THANK IT!: I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY PATIENCE AND KINDNESS TOWARDS OTHERS.
BRING IT!: THE REAL POWER IN COMMUNICATING IS IN THE LISTENING, NOT THE SPEAKING.
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” Anais Nin