The best gift for your loved ones: Listening

This is an issue a lot of men are blamed for.  And maybe it could be true the majority of men have a deep difficulty to actually engage in this common practice.  However, women are not exempt of the struggle of this simple, yet elusive, action: Listening.

What is listening? It might look as a process where the person in the receiving end of a conversation pays careful attention to the speaker and based on that message the act of communication evolves. Well… It is much more than that!

The person communicating has the ability to affect the listener by the tone, speed, reactivity, volume and multiple of non-verbal behaviors that can put in jeopardy the possibility of a good communication.

One of the main complains I hear from my clients and friends is how hurtful and frustrating is not being listened to by the closest people to you.  Failing to give to the person you love your undivided attention understanding, their perspective, or at least showing interest on understanding, it is translated as a lack of love.

Human beings experience hurtful feelings of being disregarded, not important enough in the life of the other person, when they are heard but not listened to.  Think about it, if you don’t pay attention to someone, if you don’t listen to what they are saying, not only you are not communicating but also you are acting as if they don’t exist.  What could be more hurtful than that?

The rhythm of current times, the pressures of daily life, the fast pace we end up adopting, might hinder the possibility of having an effective communication.  However, let’s not allow this to become an excuse to foster a genuine connection with people through the lost art of communication.

Here are some ideas to consider when communicating with others:

  • Put your electronics away or turn them off.
  • Look into the other person’s eyes.
  • Listen to their words, not to the movie playing in your head.
  • Let go of your own need to be right.
  • Don’t assume the other person is waiting for a solution or magic answer from you (often times that other person just wants to be listened to, they might not be even ready to hear about possible ways to resolve anything yet).
  • Stop comparing their story to yours (everybody is different).
  • Acknowledge the emotions and thoughts they are expressing even if you disagree (just allow yourself to see that not everybody experience life like you and/or have the internal resources you have).
  • Avoid getting stuck on defensiveness or judgment if the speaker says something you dislike. Wait until they finish and express, respectfully, your opinions and feelings.
  • Be curious. It is fine to ask questions as long they come from genuine curiosity and not from sarcasm, irony, anger, etc.
  • Remember: by listening attentively, with genuine intention of knowing what is the message of the speaker you are building a strong connection, therefore the chances your relationship will benefit at all levels will increase.


Now, is time to practice!  In all your interactions practice being observant, attentive, intentional, curious, patient and open to receive & to understand the inner world of those around you.

Diana Castaño