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How many times have you said or been asked “Are you listening to me?!” I am sure my own children (most of whom hear perfectly) could testify to the frequency of that phrase aimed in their direction. I bet you can think of people who hear perfectly but never seem to listen to what is being said (aren’t spouses and kids the obvious culprits?). Unlike the word “listen”, the word “hear” has a very anatomical connotation. After all, hearing is simply the sequence of sound entering our ears, after which our brain process and categorize it.
But the act of listening goes much deeper than the information we gather only through our audio channels. We can actually listen using any one of, or combinations of, our repertoire of senses.
Consider for a moment how we care for an infant. An infant is not able to express their needs using words, but if we use our 5 senses, we can often figure out what they need.
If we look at them, we may read their expressions.
If we smell them, we may figure out if they need a diaper change.
If we touch them, we may learn that they are cold.
If we lean in, we may hear their tummy gurgling uncomfortably.
If we take a sip of their baby bottle, we may discover that their milk is spoiled.
Unfortunate is the baby who’s parents only listen using their ears.
When I discovered that my ability to listen was actually enhanced due to my inability to hear, amazing changes began happening within my core. I began connecting to people on a much deeper level. I was able to read people much more accurately and emphasize with them with greater sensetivity. Do you listen using all 5 of your senses?
I challenge you to try listening to, rather than just hearing the rich stimuli that surrounds you. Try listening with your heart. You may be surprised by what you “hear”.