To be misunderstood is painful. It can leave you feeling angry, shameful, and helpless, especially at the person you want to share something with. You recognize that feeling when looking into another person’s eyes and seeing the look of utter confusion, or worse, that blank look. Often this leads to a deep sense of hurt and resentment.
When someone listens patiently and intently to other people’s words and feelings, it feels so incredible that you probably don’t want to stop sharing. It makes you feel important, accepted, and valued.
We all have an innate desire to be heard and understood; it is what people need. We all want to share our thoughts, feelings, and perspectives with the people closest to us. There is also a desire for emotional release and validation. You may feel disconnected and will feel a lack of understanding.
Many of you are “verbal processors,” the need to sort things out as you speak. If you haven’t noticed, take note when you are speaking and sharing, you manage to see another perspective on things before that person you are talking to can even say anything.
What’s it take to be a good listener?
It starts by realizing how important and influential this practice can be. Also, recognize that it’s all about the other person. Put aside your own agenda so that you can focus on really hearing.
Ways to be better understood by others is to communicate more clearly!
Good listeners concentrate on the words and look for nonverbal communication like tone, pitch, and rhythm. Look for the hidden meanings and feelings behind the words. Get more information by being curious and asking questions.
Yet on the flip side, there’re times when it has nothing to do with how people act.
It could be something that you have created in your mind. So even though you are heard and understood, your brains come up with ways to prove that you are unheard and misunderstood.
It takes place in the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) that acts as a filter; here’s where all the senses are connected. The reticular activating system is, in a nutshell, is a pencil-sized piece of the brain located just above where the spinal cord and is attached to the brain. It is the gatekeeper of information filters information that is found in the subconscious and deeper belief systems.
It lets in something we are already focusing on at any given moment. What it means is that your RAS is literally operating to reinforce that story already within your subconscious mind. Any other information that doesn’t support that story is unlikely to be let in easily. That is why even when you’ve heard, you don’t acknowledge it as deeply.
These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change. It’s changing yourself. It’s about how you go about communicating and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas, and beliefs that form our world.
The importance of truly listening:
How often do you see people interrupting or simply talking over someone else’s words to get their own words in? To listen attentively almost feels like a lost art.
It’s crucial that we actually listen to each other without automatically judging, shutting them down, cutting them off, finishing their sentence, or diminishing them if we disagree with their opinion.
So often, people don’t listen long enough to know if they agree or not. As soon as a catch-word or a phrase appears that triggers them, they shut that person down.