Listening is one of our most powerful tools to invoke change in this world. In a previous article, Listening is an Act of Love, we talked about the life changing power of listening and some ways to develop that power in your everyday life. I challenged you to take the concept out into the world by turning down the dialogue in your mind (judgement, formulating a response and thinking of your to do list), turning off distractions (phone, computer, television) and tuning into the person right there in front of you.
This week the focus is on what happens when we don’t listen. How does that really impact who we are and how we show up in the world. Not listening has far reaching implications not just in our lives but in the lives of those we interact with as well.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement” – Brene Brown
When we simply listen to another, we change lives by allowing people to express themselves fully and honestly. These types of expressions let us fully process, heal and emerge into the people we are were born to be. In contrast not listening causes harm and in many cases devastating damage.
When people do not feel heard, they shrink, hide and become someone they are not in order to gain acceptance. People who do not feel understood tend to exhibit anger, resentment and bitterness. We put on masks that become hard to remove. The longer we put on the masks the more misunderstood we feel because we stop showing up as ourselves. Our hearts become hardened the more we feel unheard and misunderstood. As this downward spiral continues, we find ourselves in a state where we can’t even hear our own voice and you certainly can’t hear the whisper of inner wisdom. We value who shows up in the world less and less because we show our true self to the world less and less.
Don’t be that person who causes people to hide. Be the person who shows up every day, open, curious and willing to hear.