but I have definitely modified my behavior so that I tune in to the other person. I wait to comment until I really know what he or she is trying to say. If the other person does not appear to be asking for my reaction, I do my best to hold it in!
I like this new style. I will actually sit quietly and just notice what others are saying around me. I no longer feel the need to entertain or fill in awkward silences.
I do believe I will mark this intention completed!
When I am out to eat (like today at lunch), I notice myself listening more and talking less. I enjoy hearing what others have to say. I also like observing people.
At Thanksgiving dinner last night, I talked too much to cover my discomfort at sitting next to my father. When he made comments that I construed as negative, I talked more and did not look at him. What’s up with that? Just shut up and give someone else a turn, girl! I did get more comfortable when mom told funny stories of her youth – she is easy to listen to. Dad lectures, not noticing who he offends along the way. And that will not change – only my attitude toward him can.
Yesterday an acquaintance approached me at an event with her story to share. I chose to listen actively with a minimum of comments and “me too”s. We had met a while back at a group meeting, where she was apparently turned off by the size of the group. With one listener, she felt freer to tell her story. I appreciate that she trusted me, and look forward to more conversations together.
I went to a silent retreat today – about five hours of sitting by a creek reading, meditating and writing about trusting God. I read about really listening without planning what to say next. Also read and thought about listening to the quiet voice of God. Good stuff!
One thing I notice about myself is this: as someone else is talking, I am thinking about what I am going to say next that relates to what they are saying. But am I really listening? If it’s casual conversation, that’s one thing, but if the person is really trying to tell me something, am I getting it? I don’t think so.