Go deeper into Soul Focused philosophy and explore new ideas with us.
Go deeper into Soul Focused philosophy and explore new ideas with us.
Active listening is an essential part of good communication and one of the major pillars of our lives. It plays a key role in both our professional and personal relationships. If you are not actively listening to what the people in your life are saying, you are missing out on an important aspect of human relationships.
Many people don’t understand the difference between listening and active listening. They believe that if you are listening, you are listening, and if you are not, you are not. Right? Well, not entirely!
There is a difference between just hearing what someone is saying and actively listening to it. And this difference plays a key role in determining the quality of your relationships. So with this said, let’s understand what active listening is and why it is so important in your relationships!
You must be wondering, what is active listening? Why is there a need to add an adjective to listening? Your confusion is totally valid! As human beings, we are not socialized to actively listen to others.
We simply know how to hear what others are saying. And we often use the words hearing and listening interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two.
Hearing is not the same as listening. You can hear someone or something yet not “listen” to them. For example, think about the scenario when you are working on your computer and playing music simultaneously. You are aware that the music is there, and you can hear it in the back of your mind. However, are you understanding and following each of the lyrics? Are you concentrating on them? Probably not. Because you are engrossed in your work while the song continues to play in the background. This is what hearing is, in a nutshell.
Listening is something that takes your ability to hear several notches higher. The idea of listening is about tuning in to what is being said behind what you are hearing. It involves following and understanding every word someone is saying to you and what it means.
When you actively listen to someone, you can easily pick up on what a person is not saying because you are so in tune with what they are saying. And most of us are not trained to do this. Thus, active listening requires a lot of practice. It is a skill that you must bring to the table if you want to have successful and fulfilling relationships in your life.
Whether we are talking about romantic relationships, friendships, or professional ones, honing your ability to listen is essential for excelling in each of your relationships. It also helps you build mutual understanding and trust.
When you start practicing active listening, you start seeing people differently. You start understanding them better. Because when you really listen to people, you pick up on what is behind the words they are saying. And since you can figure out the true meaning behind everybody’s words, it also makes it hard for people to lie to you.
Most people end up having heartaches in relationships because they don’t have the habit of actively listening to their partners. Everyone tells you the truth in one way or the other. All you need to do is listen to what is behind what they are saying. And this is where good communication comes into play.
Communication is the way we bring each other together. It helps you represent your realities and desires accurately and uncompromisingly. No one but you know what those things are. Thus, it is your responsibility to communicate those realities to other people.
Remember, as a listener, it is your responsibility to listen to others with an open mind free from judgments and bias. Always listen to others to understand what they are saying and not formulate your argument. If your sole purpose behind listening is to find loopholes in what a person was saying, you’ve got it all wrong! The purpose of active listening is to make you a better communicator and not to sharpen your arguing skills.
Effective communication, along with practicing active listening in relationships, empowers you to get what you want from others and enables you to give others what they want. It also brings a certain degree of intimacy and connection between people!
We all exist in this world as a unique voice. And there is nothing that a voice wants
more than to be listened to. We do not want to hear and be forgotten. We want others to listen to us properly, understand the meaning behind what we are trying to say, and then form an opinion about us. This is because our true power in life isn’t based on what we say. It depends on how well we are being listened to by others.
For example, as a parent, most of us have a habit of multitasking. It usually happens that a parent is multitasking while their kid is saying something to them, and the parent is hearing the kid but not listening to what they are saying. This is why we often miss out on all the clues that our kids try to give us about where they are and what they are thinking about doing.
Children always try to give a heads up to their parents about how they are feeling and what they want to do. They give their parents a chance to help them find the right direction in life. But because we are not actively listening to them, we miss out on all of those clues kids try to give us. This is one of the reasons you will see most parents saying things like, “I had no idea my kid was up to that.”
The same thing is true for all the relationships you have in your life. Be it your mother, friend, colleague, or anyone else, they all expect you to listen to them actively!
In a relationship, if you only make demands on the other person and do not make yourself available to listen to their point of view, it creates a huge problem. Every relationship comprises two people who should be equals in every sense of the word. And that is not possible if the voice of one person keeps on diminishing while that of the other’s keeps on rising.
When you are in the dynamics, where only you can make demands and the other person in the relationship is not able to put their wishes forward because you don’t listen, that relationship turns toxic. Regardless of how you try to present it or convince yourself otherwise, it becomes an abusive relationship.
Active listening makes you more empathetic. When listening to other people, you can decipher their feelings and needs in a better way. Picking up what is behind their words empowers you to solve problems that you didn't even know existed before. And that’s something compelling, isn’t it?
So, we can say that apart from being a skill, active listening in relationships is also a choice! You have to choose to be available to listen to your partner or your children. You have to choose to be willing to understand them and their needs. Nobody can force you to do any of that if you aren’t ready to put in the work by yourself!
As children, most of us were raised to believe that whatever our parents were saying was always right. We weren’t taught to be open about our demands and wishes. We were just taught not to argue with our parents and be grateful to them. And we carry these values while stepping into adulthood. So when we become parents, we expect the same from our kids. Our egos, childhood experiences, and traumas don’t let us listen to our children.
What this world focuses on the most is the value of obedience! Thus, we are constantly trying to make our children more obedient and not necessarily listening to what they want to say to us. We are more after obedience than their happiness. This makes the young ones feel dejected. They start suffering from the inside. They know that you don't want to listen to their voice or understand who they really are.
So, if you want to be a better parent to your children, it is essential to step out of your ego. You need to decide to actively listen to everything your kid is trying to tell you. You need to make them believe that their voice matters! This will ultimately help your children become better listeners themselves, and they won’t have to go through the difficulties you experienced. Isn’t that what good parenting means?
Active listening is a technique where you apply your senses to pick up on what people are saying and what they are not saying. It involves more than just using your ears to hear their words. Here, we mean that you can listen with your eyes, with your feelings, with your touch, and so on. So while you just hear with your ears, you listen with all of your senses!
In other words, active listening is nothing but listening to others in the right way! It is a very powerful thing that strengthens both the listener and the speaker. Because when you listen to a voice, you amplify it. You make it louder, not just in volume but also in clarity and expression.
Active listening also allows you to decipher the vibration existing behind people’s words. Words are just a fraction of what good communication entails. Effective communication is also about understanding the other person’s feelings on such a deep level that you start feeling the same thing.
Great listeners don’t only listen to our words, but they also pick up on our vibrations. They get so tuned in to what the other person is telling them that they start feeling their vibrations too. And if you can do the same, your life, relationships, and everything else will change for the better!
Whether we realize it or not, most of our conversations are driven by fear. Fear is the reason we lie in our relationships.
Have you ever thought about why you lie? Just think about that for a minute. Why do you lie and exaggerate so many things when nobody asks you to do so? Why do we feel the need to put up this performance in front of others and make them see a better and grander version of ourselves? The answer to all of these questions is quite simple. You do all of this out of fear.
There is so much fear that we operate from. We are afraid of being embarrassed, making mistakes, being wrong, and so on! We have a fear of people seeing the parts of ourselves that we haven't even thoroughly examined yet. Thus, most of us end up communicating from a place of fear or not communicating at all. That is yet another problem that fear creates. It makes us run away from meaningful conversations.
The moment we see critical conversations coming toward us, we turn and walk the other way. We start to avoid people who bring those conversations to us. An excellent example of this is the race conversation. Most people tend to avoid such conversation as much as possible.
However, this is not the right solution, is it? Running away from a difficult conversation doesn’t solve any problem. Instead, it makes the issues all the worse. Thus, when you find yourself trying to avoid listening or talking about something, here’s what you should do.
Take a breath and remind yourself that you cannot change the reality of what happened in the past. So, there is no reason for you to be afraid of it. Yes, doing so will be difficult initially, but it will also be worth it!
Listening to the things you are afraid of will only make you stronger, better, and more empathetic. Strength and empathy are two such qualities that this world needs the most right now.
One of the most important relationships that you will ever have in your life is the relationship with yourself! After all, you spend the maximum amount of time with yourself, isn’t it? Thus, while we are talking about the importance of active listening in relationships, it is essential to understand the importance of understanding your own voice too.
Every being in this world is moving forward based upon the communication inside their head. Now, society also fills us up with all kinds of messages that become the cause or the influence driving us to do the things we do. The problem arises when we stop listening beyond the messages we received as children. And this gives a boost to our ego and makes us unapproachable to others.
On the other hand, we can hear our voices when we learn to listen beyond society's messages. This voice is filled with infinite intelligence that knows exactly where we need to go in life. It helps us move in the right direction. Actively listening to your voice makes all the difference in the world. It takes you closer to your soul and the divine being.
Every night when we go to sleep, our spirit gets up and works on what we desire and why we are here. And our spirit never strays from its cause; it never changes its path. The only thing that has ever had the opportunity to stray from his course is our mind, led by our ego.
So, when you start listening to your voice, you start getting back in tune with your spirit. And this ultimately leads you to the right path in life! So always remember, it all begins with you!
Our ego has made us believe that we should be afraid of people seeing the real us. It has taught us that if people find out who we are, they’d want to get away from us. And this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, when people see the real you, there is a high chance that they will become fond of you. This is because they are yearning for the same thing for themselves too!
Remember, you are not your ego. You are not the person you are pretending to be for
other people. It's not the real you. The real you is someone unique and beautiful. Yes, you are imperfect, but so is everyone else. And you have all the right to find and unleash the real you and shine in all your true glory.
However, you cannot get to know your real self until you listen and have the conversations that have been holding you hostage. Because by having those conversations, you get to understand who you really are. This leads you to find your true self. And when you find your true self, you find your power.
Our ego is afraid of people giving us their honest feedback about what they really feel or think about us. So we take the easy way out and stop listening altogether. And this has created a society full of people who are not willing to listen to each other. Today, people aren't even listening to themselves. This also implies that they are not accurately representing their internal reality to others.
The world we live in today is in communication chaos. Instead of practicing effective communication, we are just hiding behind our computer screens, blaming and screaming at each other. This is the reason that none of our problems are being solved.
After all, you can only solve your problems by having honest and effective communication with each other. And for that, practicing active listening in relationships is imperative.
So, it’s time for you to turn around and face your fears. It’s time for you to be honest about your feelings and listen to others with an active and open mind. This is the only way we can have healthy relationships and happier lives.
Communication is one of those things that has the most significant impact on our lives. And yet, human beings usually take communication for granted. Most people never analyze their communication abilities at all. As a result, they don't realize the power of good communication and how it can help them move mountains in their life.
The biggest communication problem we have today is that we are not honest with each other. Not only do we lie in our relationships, but also in our finances, in our spirituality, in our friendships, in the workplace, and so on. And to improve our life, it is essential to overcome this habit of constant lying.
Today, we will talk in detail about this problem. We will also discuss how these problems arise and how you can overcome them.
Communication problems aren't something new to the human race. Such problems go back hundreds, or even thousands, of years. Human beings have been communicating with each other since the dawn of the human race.
So, how is it possible that we have this colossal communication problem that most of us aren't even aware of?
Well, the idea that we have a communication problem starts with us not understanding what communication is in the first place. In a fast-paced society like America that grew up with leaps and bounds in the past 200 years, people didn't have much time to examine the communication problem.
Have you ever thought about the things that we as a society skipped over to grow with such fast speed? Probably not! And that's how the communication problem went unnoticed for so long.
Looking at my personal experience, when I was five years old, my parents got divorced. I remember before their divorce, they used to fight constantly. As a young child, I used to feel terrified and paralyzed by their arguments and fights. However, as I became older, I realized two things were missing in my parent's relationship that eventually resulted in their divorce.
Number one, there was no communication present other than physical or verbal abuse. That was the entire length of the communication that my parents used to have with each other.
Number two, their power was missing from the equation. Both of them were not in their power. So when they were fighting, they didn't have any sense of what they were actually doing.
When we talk about communication, we can't help but talk about power dynamics. Effective and impactful communication cannot happen when there is a lack of power. And power comes from the dynamics of representation.
So, the two biggest communication problems are the lack of accurate representation and disempowerment. Both of these problems are interconnected too. A lack of representation leads to the feeling of powerlessness and vice versa.
When I first started dating, I didn't have a lot of confidence. I was a young teacher that grew up in an impoverished background. So, whenever I met a young lady, I would always communicate to hide my background.
I used to do that because I didn't want them to know where I was really coming from. I believed that my poor background was a strike against me.
So, I used to do everything possible to hide my background. And that was my first communication error: the misrepresentation of my background. This, in turn, would cause the second communication problem, which is disempowerment.
Real confidence and power come from telling the truth. It comes from you accurately representing who you are. This was the reason I lacked confidence during my initial dating days.
I am telling you about my personal experience because I want you to know that good communication is essential for a happy relationship. You need to represent your true reality to your partner, no matter how bad it is. By telling them the truth, you give them the opportunity to choose if they still want to be with you or not. Doing this will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress, trouble, and heartache later on.
Suppose you begin your relationship by misrepresenting yourself to your partner. Now, wouldn't that create a doubt in your mind that whether your partner would have chosen you if they knew the truth? Because right now, your partner likes an imposter. They like the person you are pretending to be by misrepresenting yourself. So is this the right way to get into a relationship?
If you observe modern-day dating closely, you will realize that almost everyone misrepresents themselves to some degree. Such is our society. It has made misrepresenting and hiding our reality totally normal. And that is very unfortunate!
Most people conceal their reality by saying things like, "we are trying to be on our best behavior for the first few months." But the question is, what will happen after those first few months get over? Wouldn't there be an ocean of issues in your relationship later?
This also leads us to another important question we have to ask ourselves: as a society, why do we have this pattern and tendency to misrepresent ourselves in the first place? This constant ongoing misrepresentation of who we are is the root cause of all the communication problems. So, why do we do it?
The biggest reason why we often tend to misrepresent ourselves is our ego. When we decide to hide our reality from someone, we are doing nothing but playing in the hands of our ego. Our ego makes us believe that representing our authentic selves will somehow make us look less of a person in front of others. This is not true in most cases, but we still fail to see the reality and thus, end up creating issues in our relationship.
While hiding your reality might seem like an easy choice initially, it leads to a lot of trouble later on. Not only that, but it also takes a lot of energy to misrepresent yourself in front of your partner or friends. You will constantly have to worry about them finding out the truth about you. You will always have to live in fear of what would happen if your partner finds out the reality. This creates a stressful situation that could have been easily avoided.
On the other hand, you have nothing to worry about if you come clean at the beginning of every relationship and friendship. You get to start with a clean slate and without any baggage whatsoever. Moreover, telling the truth takes less energy than hiding it.
Representing your authentic self takes a lot of strength, especially if you don't have a rosy life picture to share. But once you come clean about your reality, it's done. You no longer have to worry about anything. You will be in immense relief.
Yes, it will be awkward and uncomfortable at first. It will be like you have been walking wrong your whole life, and now all of a sudden, you're going to start walking correctly. It will take some time to get used to, but it is worth it in the long run!
We get so comfortable hiding our authentic selves that it becomes a habit. But, unfortunately, once it becomes a habit, you don't even realize that you're misrepresenting yourself all the time, even when it is not needed at all.
Our ego gives us a lot of fodder to put up as excuses for why we don't want to come clean. If you think about it, you will often find yourself making excuses like, "I could get hurt if I come clean with the truth," or "they will hate me if they get to know about my reality," and so on. So, you think that you are ensuring your safety while concealing your reality. But what you are actually doing is prolonging things.
You keep on lying and withholding vital information from others. You start spending your life trying to keep it away from people hoping that nobody ever finds out the truth. And then, like every drama and soap opera you have on television, somebody would come and reveal the information you are trying to hide sooner or later. And boom! You have to deal with a bigger mess than before. To avoid all of this, it is essential to practice honesty.
Misrepresentation is not only limited to being the biggest communication problem; it goes above and beyond that. Misrepresentation makes you walk in a sense of powerlessness. This is because true power comes from our authentic selves. So every time you withhold your reality or hide your truth, you also end up hiding your power rather than bringing it into the light.
Now, breaking this habit of misrepresentation will take time. You will feel awkward at first because you are so used to having something to hide. But once you get over that awkwardness, things will get easier. You will finally start to live your life in the light.
Human beings are capable of unconditional love. However, when we choose to hide our reality from the most important people in our lives, we move away from love. We step into the web of lying and misrepresenting.
But that's not what we are supposed to do! We are supposed to be our authentic selves and love each other. Unfortunately, we are not doing what we are supposed to do. In reality, we are doubling down on divisions and hate.
Think about all those social justice movements like the anti-racism movement that couldn't make the kind of impact they should. What really killed all those movements was the internal stuff based upon the biggest communication problem.
And that is misrepresentation and being unable to identify those who are misrepresenting themselves. And thus, for the betterment of society as a whole, it is essential to break that vicious cycle of hiding, lying, and misrepresenting ourselves.
We know doing so is not easy. Our mind is programmed so that we misrepresent ourselves to feel natural and right. We have been conditioned to think that being open about ourselves and telling our reality without reservations is difficult. Throughout our lives and careers, we have had this perception that telling the truth can lead to poor consequences when in reality, the opposite is true!
From the moment we step out into this world, our mind is programmed to believe that telling a lie is easy. Our society tells us that it is hard to tell the truth. And so, whenever we are in a difficult situation, we take the easy way out and lie to avoid hardships.
However, while hiding the truth can help you escape a problem for a little while, it is not a permanent solution. The relief that you feel after lying is just an illusion. It is not real!
No matter what you believe, the universe doesn't support lying. This is the reason why a lie never solves any problems. People who misrepresent themselves are imposters, and an imposter can never actually solve a problem. They will only create more of them.
This is also the reason our society is drowning in problems. And instead of finding a solution to them, we keep on piling up our issues by not communicating correctly and being open about ourselves.
However, since your brain is programmed to believe that lying is an easy way to avoid problems for so long, it will take some effort to break that habit. You will have to constantly repeat to yourself that it is easy to tell the truth and difficult to tell a lie.
Understand that the thing that allows you to have the maximum power and freedom is being your authentic self. Because then you won't have anything to hide or be worried about.
When you practice being authentic on a regular basis, it becomes your pattern. It becomes your habit and your mind's tendency. You will slowly start improving every area of your life. You no longer have to perform in front of your partner or friends. You can truly be free and real.
Communication and power are all about representation. Therefore, the more accurate your representation is, the more powerful you will feel!
As human beings, we are all unique. Yes, we have our problems and shortcomings, but we also have our powers and strengths. And power comes from an accurate representation of who you are. It comes from accepting yourself in all your imperfect glory.
So, how can you start practicing accurate representation and get over the biggest communication problem of your life?
Well, there are five key areas where you should start practicing accurate representation of yourself.
The whole communication problem starts when we try to hide our feelings about someone or something. Your feelings are the language of your soul- that is how our soul speaks to us. Unlike what most people believe, our feelings are not the same as our emotions. They are more than that.
Emotions are our reactions to things. That is why we call them "energy in motion." They give us some indicator of what direction we are going when we react to something. But our feelings are not just reactions. They come from a more profound reality within ourselves that we don't quite understand yet. But to improve our relationships and thrive in our lives, we need to express our feelings accurately whenever they come up.
When you are in a relationship or getting to know someone, it is essential to let them know what you think about them and the relationship. Being honest about your thoughts with others is important. This will help the other person make their decision about the relationship too. After all, they deserve your unfiltered honesty, don't they?
Additionally, learning to represent your thoughts accurately is important because in that way, you will learn how to transform the way you think. By sharing your thoughts with people, you get a chance to receive feedback from them. And then, that feedback will allow you to adjust your thoughts and evolve.
Being honest about your desires and expectations is an essential pillar of every relationship. If you are not honest about what you want from others, your communication will be off, and so will be your integrity.
Understand the fact that people are not mind-readers. Thus, if you want something from others, you need to tell them about it. When you lie about your true desires in a relationship, you pave the way to a lot of hurt and pain. Thus, you have to be honest about what you want because that is your responsibility.
Telling people what things mean to you is how you represent your values to them. People can say the same thing, yet their meaning can be entirely different. For example, you will often find that when a man says he loves a woman and a woman says she loves him back, they're not talking about the same thing. But we never really discuss what we are talking about or what it really means to them and us.
Telling others what things mean to you and finding out what the same things mean to them allows you to see whether or not your minds are moving in the same direction or if there's a conflict somewhere. This will also enable you to resolve any conflict before it can create a huge mess in your life.
If you look closely, your life is the sum of all the experiences you've had till this moment. Your experiences are what make you who you are. They shape your life and your thoughts.
Your experiences have a lot to do with your background, what you have gone through, what you have learned or haven't, and what you are still going through. But, unfortunately, some of us misrepresent our experiences because we think that they are not good enough to get us where we want to go.
So we run behind other people's experiences. We try to replicate them. But the reality is the only experience that can take you to where you really want to go is your own. Thus, be proud of them and be honest about them with others.
These are the five essential things you should always represent correctly to overcome the biggest communication problem.
God (or the universe) has given you the tool to create the life you have always dreamed of in the form of your choices. Your choices have a huge impact on your life.
You are responsible for the choices you make in life. Being extraordinary is all about accepting responsibility for your own choices. In other words, it is your duty to work on changing the way you think and communicate with others because no one else can.
Your choices can make you feel powerful and vice versa. In a relationship, you can choose to represent your true self or hide it behind the mask of perfection. Every individual is God's beautiful and unique creation, so stop finding ways to put yourself down and embrace your authentic self passionately.
No matter how difficult a situation gets, you always have some choices, even if there are not many. Thus, make sure to choose truth and honesty, and you will be on the way to getting over the biggest communication problem and improving the quality of your life!