Hearing but not Hearing

We all talk to people all the time. Some is just chit chat, in that it is just being polite, but the goal of talking with, and listening to people who are important to us is that we would understand them. Understanding the full meaning and intent of the words that my wife, Patty speaks to me is not easy, it takes attentiveness and thought. I often don’t understand what she is saying and don’t realize I didn’t get it, until a problem comes up later because I didn’t follow through on that previous communication. I have a responsibility when I speak, to work at being understood, there is a learned skill in being a good communicator so people understand exactly what I am trying to say.

It is also my responsibility in a relationship to work at understanding the other person’s communication to me, not to be a lazy, inattentive listener. If I don’t quite understand, to ask questions to help clarify. The desire to clearly understand another person is an expression of love and of honor. Being a lazy listener and inattentive is very dishonoring to the other person, communicating clearly that what they have to say is not important to me. Learning how another person communicates, the definition of the words they use in their mind, the logic that they use in putting together sentences and stories is another part of being a good lister to people I care about.

I have tended towards being a poor listener over the years because I am usually in a hurry to do something, so I just give enough attention to get the basic gist of what is being said. I made a commitment a number of years ago to Patty as my “I Love You Commitments” to her, it was “I will listen attentively to your words, and honor you by paying sincere attention to what you are saying to me, and diligently seek to understand you completely“.

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