Saturday, July 2, 2011

Listening with Your Heart

Image courtesy of Ilco

This is an actual advertisement found in a Utah (USA) newspaper from a man trying to sell his motorcycle.

"2006 Suzuki 1000. This bike is perfect! It has 1000 miles and has had its 500 mile dealer service. (Expensive Service!)

It's been adult ridden, all wheels have always been on the ground. I use it as a cruiser/commuter. I'm selling it because it was purchased without proper consent of a loving wife!

Apparently "do whatever the heck you want" doesn't mean what I thought!!!

Call me, Steve. [phone number]"

Her sarcasm was lost on him. Somehow he didn’t hear the words behind the words.

Why is it? We own cell phones and send email. We talk, text and tweet. We have more ways of communicating than ever before, but communication is still a major problem.

Maybe they hear our words, but they're deaf to what is behind the words. So what do we do? We say it LOUDER. If we can't be understood at conversational level, maybe they'll understand if we blast it into their heads.

And sometimes we simply don’t listen well. Perhaps that is because many of us are afflicted with what communicator Nido Qubein terms "agenda anxiety" – the feeling that what we want to say to others is more important than what they might want to say to us. So we don’t listen. We try to impress rather than express, not realizing that two monologues do not make a dialogue.

"Please understand me," is the desperate cry of too many relationships. "You don’t have to make me feel better; you don’t have to do anything; you don’t even have to agree with me. But don’t judge me. Just understand me. Please."

The truth is that our relationships work when communication works. And communication works when we hear the words behind the words; when it becomes as important for us to listen as it is for us to speak; and, when we truly understand each other. For me, it takes more than merely listening with my ears. I also have to listen with my heart.

My colleague and friend Roy Trueblood collaborated on the book MANAGING FROM THE HEART [Managing from the Heart] In it, the authors discuss what it means to communicate from the heart as well as from the head. Here are five principles of "H-E-A-R-T" communication. These are great tips for better talking and listening in personal relationships.

H - Hear and understand me.

E - Even if you disagree, please don’t make me wrong.

A - Acknowledge the greatness within me.

R - Remember to look for my loving intentions.

T - Tell me the truth with compassion.

Noted author and psychotherapist Virginia Satir said this about communication: "Once a human being has arrived on this earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him." It seems important that we get it right.

I realize that the quality of my life will be largely determined by the quality of my relationships. And my relationships will improve when I learn to listen with my heart.

-- Steve Goodier


Anonymous said...

Hi Rev. Steve. I enjoyed the link to your blogspot this evening. Thanks for posting. :-) -Julie N.

Steve Goodier said...

Julie, I find that more and more people are finding the blog from Facebook and Twitter. I actually haven't used those much, but I'll post links to them every time I write now.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Dear Steve, You are a real inspiration to me. I treasure your blend of wisdom and humor. I've been reading you since you began the e-newsletter, and you've been a link to home during the last ten years while I've been teaching in South Korea. Many Blessings to you! ~ Sil

Steve Goodier said...

Sil, thank you for checking in! It sounds as if you have found a home in Korea, too. Best to you as you continue to make a difference in the world.