Why We Don’t Listen

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Communication is a process through which people exchange their thoughts, feelings and understanding through verbal and non-verbal messages. Did you know that in this process, listening is as important as speaking? 

We can be more successful in communication when we are aware of the main blocks that prevent us from listening:

  1. External distractions

Often it’s easier to relate to the noise that is going on elsewhere. Why? We prefer to focus on it and use it as an excuse for a lack of engagement in a stressful or uncomfortable situation. The solution is to work on being present and on the resilience to cope with difficult situations and conversations.

  1. Inability to assess well

Lack of understanding and patience, not seeing the complete picture, quick decisions based on incomplete facts lead to faulty assessments. When we are fully focused on the other person, so focused we can hear the words they are not saying, we are listening with full attention and with increased compassion.

  1. Being judgmental

Judgement happens when there is too much moral evaluation and criticism based on one’s “truth”. Changing judgmental communication starts with how we think and with letting go of anything that implies accusation and criticism. It means listening with the desire to hear rather than the urge to reply.

  1. Lack of neutrality in exchanging messages

People are often responding to their perception of reality rather than the reality itself. It often means remaining stuck to certain patterns. To change this, we need to work on letting go of attachments, toning down reactions and put in the effort to see things from the other perspective, finding a middle ground.

  1. Being 100% anchored in one’s beliefs

Being 100% anchored in one’s beliefs can feed the ego to the extent of self-righteousness. Everything the mind can do the mind can undo. Unpack the past to find the truth by revisiting some events and establish what is true and helpful in communication. It will change the way you relate to others.

Good communication is the key that builds and gives depth to our relationships. Often, the way we communicate gives insight on what’s going on inside of our hearts and minds. In communication, whenever you have a problem that seems a little overwhelming, chunk it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. It helps to focus on one thing at a time and find the right solutions. Relationships are the network of life, and the overall quality of our life will be determined by the quality of relationships that we keep. 

“Listening is not a reaction, it is a connection. Listening to a conversation or a story, we don’t so much respond as join in — become part of the action.” Ursula K Le Guin

Deepen your understanding of actions, speech and communication here

Read more: Why communication is the essence in relationships

Photo credits: Oskars Sylwan@unsplash

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