Most of us are hearing what the other person is talking about, but do not listen actively, as our mind is buzzing with thoughts, and we are waiting to reply and be heard instead. Our smartphones aren’t helping either, with our mind wandering to the next distraction or notification.
Many people also don’t fully hear what is being said, and react according to the basic ‘fight-or-flight’ mechanism inside a fear-based mind. A good, active listener takes time to listen to the other person without showing any impulsive reaction, or being defensive.
Distractions and triggers do not bother a mindful listener, who is non-judgmental, compassionate and self-aware about any possible reactions.
To practice mindful listening, one needs a partner to practice, and about two minutes. As the partner starts to talk, the listener listens actively and nodes, without uttering a word. After two minutes, the listener can jot down two or three key points, noticing what got them triggered or distracted.
One can switch roles and repeat this roleplay a few times, being aware of the heightened compassion and connection that is formed.
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