my desire to state my side of the story often prevents me from hearing what is actually being said.
when i get defensive, or offensive, when i take sides and judge who’s right and who’s wrong, i often fail to hear and see the simple facts.
the simple facts are so easily tainted by my individual perspective. each of us experiences the same thing differently.
this is an example – my father used to ask me as i’d be walking out the door,
“is that what you’re going to wear?”
and as a little girl, i would know that meant to go back inside and change.
as a woman, i can look at him and say,
“you’re asking if this is what i’m going to wear”… reflective listening.
and he says, “it’s too loud and busy.”
“you think it’s too loud and busy”…reflective listening. “yes!, it’s too loud!,” he says again, this time yelling.
“thanks for sharing your opinion, dad. i didn’t realize it. next time i’ll think about that before putting it on.”
instead of practicing keeping my mouth shut, which still allows me to be thinking negative thoughts, i choose to practice listening with my heart, which doesn’t know how to judge. my father has very strong opinions and loves to control his visual palette. i choose not to take his criticism personally, i just allow myself to see it as it is – my dad. and my dad has no filter.
it begins with reflective listening. i pause and ask, ‘may i repeat back what i think you’re saying? i want to make sure i understand.’
i practice being a clear calm lake, so pure that it reflects back exactly what it sees. it sees the mountain, the snow, the clouds, exactly as they are, not as i want them to be
i practice calm, quiet and no judgement, and suddenly i can see clearly. and i hear exactly what is being said, not contaminated by my wishes, demands or conditioned perspective.