By: Dr. Agbenyo.
Once upon a time, adventure landed me in a totally new environment with thrilling welcome and warm reception from the people. Almost everyone I came across would make these enquiries about my well-being: Did you sleep well? You had a good breakfast? Need a helping hand to explore the town? etc. Initially, I gladly tried filling them in but consistently, I realised these were well rehearsed, lip-deep sentences with no genuine interest in my person. They simply were not interested in my responses because most of the time they were in a hurry to either move on or ask the next question without waiting for an answer. Gradually, I tuned off!
🎡 Proverbial epistle
Everybody can hear but it takes real effort to listen and relate appropriately.
💉 Random thoughts
- Are we hearers or listeners?
- How do we feel when we are not listened to?
- How do we become better listeners than mere hearers?
Do we really pay attention to what other people are saying? Don’t we, oftentimes, hold on to individual words/ sentences rather than the full import of the message being conveyed? How does it feel if our doctor writes medication for us when we know she/vhe hadn’t really listened to our concern? Don’t we consciously or unconsciously do it to others all the time? How can we listen with our phones, TV, radio, newspaper, etc taking our attention?
🦻Hearing is perceiving sound waves through our ears but listening is an act of putting in efforts into understanding what we hear.
🦻 Hearing is a function of one of our five senses and happens all the time (involuntary),unless there is an auditory problem.
🦻 Listening, on the other hand, needs concentration to process the sounds/vibration into meanings and employs the help of all the senses (hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell) and may also resort to the ‘sixth sense of intuition’ as well.
🦻 Hearing can occur without any effort but listening is a skill which observes behaviour/ demeanor/ gestures etc that go along with the sounds and actively uses the brain to analyse and respond appropriately.
🦻Is it not true that most of us are so inward looking, love the sound of our voices, and perhaps, simply too lazy and thus resort to hearing rather than listening?
🦻 Don’t we speak without waiting for responses? Don’t we engage others for mere politeness/ tradition without really having genuine interest in their welfare? Are we not in so much of a hurry to give people a piece of our mind rather than the peace from our hearts?
🙏What is the nature of our prayers? Is it not all about speaking out without listening for answers? Even if we treat the revered Maker like this, would we treat mere mortals any better? Is this not a true reflection of our listening skills? We pretend to care by making time to hear others but most of the time, it ends in our ears- no connection to the brain, heart and the other senses!
❤️A lot of the challenges we face around us could have been resolved halfway if only we had listened.
Listening can build better relationships with others, while hearing cannot. Even more so in the era of covid and increased electronic information sharing, we need to be mindful of how we communicate and be sure we clearly understand the information shared before responding.
❤️We must consciously remove the distractions/ disturbances/ inattention to better listening by putting our phones, electrical gadgets, earbuds, airpods, etc aside and engage people verbally and non-verbally by looking out for gestures/behaviours which go along with the sounds we receive or give. Wouldn’t it be nice if TV, laptops and other work related accoutrements do not find their way into our bedrooms? Wouldn’t it be nice to listen more and slower at speaking? Wouldn’t it be nice to engage each other without time limitation/ pressure/ information overload? Wouldn’t it be nice to put what we hear in context rather than stick to individual text? Wouldn’t it be nice to wait in silence for a while after praying to listen to that still small voice for directions?
😍 Don’t we all have the basic need to be understood and to understand? How do we achieve these without listening to one another?
🕯️ Serenity 💡
Reality check: Do we hear others with the intention of getting the full import of what is being conveyed or just to reply them? True listeners prioritise paying attention over talent, finding the spirit behind the sound over their egoistic stickiness to texts, and above all, making building bridges the ultimate goal. Amen.