Listen Generously – FOW #2

Give others your full attention, be present and engaged and set aside the internal conversation in your head as best you can.  Let go of your need to agree, disagree, or judge. Be empathetic and listen for the needs of others. Listen with curiosity and make sure you get all the facts, separating facts from interpretations.

Have you ever had someone misunderstand you?

Have you ever told someone one thing and they heard another? Have you ever found yourself in a conflict because of what someone else said?

Did you hear Yanni or Laurel?

How is it that we constantly find ourselves disagreeing and arguing over what we hear? The answer is physiological!

The outcome of what we hear depends on if you’re listening from your left brain or your right brain.

Our need to agree, disagree, or judge comes from our left brain. Giving others our full attention, presence, empathy, and curiosity comes from our right brain.

In her book, My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor, shares her journey of having a stroke at age 37. This story is remarkable given that Taylor is a Havard trained brain scientist with first-hand experience of stroke recovery.  Her brain injury occurred in her left brain, so she had to learn how to recover and heal that side of her brain.

She writes, “One of the most prominent characteristics of our left brain is its ability to weave stories. This story-teller portion of our left mind’s language center is specifically designed to make sense of the world outside of us, based upon minimal amounts of information. Most impressively, our left brain is brilliant in its ability to make stuff up, and fill in the blanks when there are gaps in factual data. In addition, during its process of generating a storyline, our left mind is quite the genius in its ability to manufacture alternative scenarios.”

She goes on to say, “For many of us, once we have made a decision, we are attached to that decision forever. I have found that often the last thing a really dominating left hemisphere wants is to share its limited cranial space with an open-minded right counterpart!”

Isn’t that what we do with our listening?

We run it through our left brain and create a story, opinion, or judgment.

I find I do it all the time and I have to constantly check myself because it sets me up for not really listening to what the person is saying. When I do listen from my right brain, I find the results to be gratifying for me and the speaker.

When I truly listen to another person, great things happen. It positively affects the relationship, the outcome, and the extra time not spent cleaning up a misunderstanding.

So, what’s it going to be?? Left or Right?? I’m working on leaning right to be generous in my listening!