We all know that one of the five senses is hearing.
But do we all understand the difference between hearing and listening as well as between hearing, listening and understanding?
In my experience, many of us do not understand the subtlety between hearing, listening and understanding.
People talk all the time. We hear them and perhaps can recall what the general gist of the
conversation was. But just as often we’d be hard pressed to tell someone else what the other person meant by what they said.
As we multi-task, check our emails on our cell phone while asking our spouse or children how their day went, the probability of a misunderstanding sky rockets. When our children or spouse are involved with their smart phone, computer or television, the probability of our question and their answer being processed into memory plummets.
In this busy society with more and more communication taking place via text messages and emails, the nuances of communication that come when we hear a person’s voice are being lost. (No, the *smiling* or *waving* added to the message isn’t the same.)
Being heard and understood is a powerful validation for us regardless of who we are.
If you are someone who doesn’t feel heard or understood, stop for a moment and consider your own listening skills.
Are you really listening to what others are saying? Or are you like many people, formulating your answer or response?
If you are the latter, as many of us are, you truly are not listening to understand what the other person is saying.
Try one of these strategies:
+ Check out your hearing, listening and understanding skills. Where are you stronger? Where do you need to improve?
+ Repeat the message you thought you heard back to the speaker and look for the sign that you heard ‘right’ before thinking about your response.
+ Look beyond the person or if on the phone, close your eyes and listen without seeing the person. Do you hear the same thing?
+ Concentrate on the person. What is the body language? What is the voice inflection? Do they match the message? If not, why is that?
A sure way to improve our professional and personal relationships is to hear what is being said by really listening to understand the message.
Where do you find it hard to "hear"?
Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual paths that nurture the soul.
The fifth book in the series, Hunter, is available at and major e-retailers now.
Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series here.
Judith blogs at Romancing The Genres on the first Friday of each month.