It is impossible to listen to the person, situation, or circumstance in a new and open manner if the only voice you are listening to is one that is predefined with past opinions, interpretations, assigned meaning, certainties, concepts, and beliefs (Platt, 2007). You hear you “already-always-listening” before you hear anything else. This creates in you an auto-response to whatever you encounter in life. Thus, it drowns out newness and possibility. The inability to experience and receive newness and possibility will cause you to fall into a rut and make you feel stuck in an uninspired life.
An “already-always-listening” will also drain the life out of your relationships. No matter what you talk about with another person, you will not receive anything fresh or intimate. The ambience for your conversation will be predetermined. You engage in the conversation for the sake of conversing, and not because you are truly engaged in it. The entire conversation becomes a chore, rather than an opportunity to take the relationship to the next level. Promoting and contributing to a “you and me” world says you need to eliminate the “already-always-listening”.
Always already listening stops people from contributing to you and as a result, you also stop contributing to others. There is a voice inside of you saying, “I already know this.” You must show how to respond to this inner voice with a “Stop telling me what I already know.”
In conversations, do you show up for people as one who cares for them? It is one thing to say, “Yes, I care,” and it is another to show them you care. Iqbal (2013) tells us, “Genuine listening is the foundation of caring and relationship.” When you listen to others and do it as if they are a person of worth, it shows you care about them and your relationship. When you listen to them as a person who matters, then you reveal you truly value the relationship. Stop everything that you are thinking, saying, and doing, and listen. Genuine listening means you create a space for the other person to show up and to express himself or herself to you fully. When they feel that you have “gotten” them, then they would feel that you have valued the time you have spent in a conversation with them. When they feel that you have gotten them, then they will feel connected with you, and vice versa. This is where intimacy is built. The listening is the background that gives meaning and shapes that which shows up in the foreground. Too many of us get busy on ‘fixing / dealing with’ the foreground (the events that occur) and few of us work on the background: the listening. Yet, the power, the leverage, is in the listening! (Iqbal, 2012)
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What do you think have you missed because of the lack of always already listening?