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Put Your Listening Ears On

by Ariel & Shya Kane

It doesn’t matter where you are in the cycle of dating, relating or marriage. One of the most important skill sets to develop and hone is that of listening—really listening—to hear what your partner (or anyone else) is saying from his or her point of view. In fact our definition of True Listening is to listen to hear what another is saying from his or her perspective. This sounds pretty simple, and you may think that you do this already. But do you really?

Our minds are complex and brilliant microprocessors, capable of performing many tasks in an infinitely small time frame. That’s one of the reasons why slowing yourself down to simply listen is often a challenge. Think about this: If someone says something you like, don’t you automatically agree with it in your mind?

Let’s take a look at the process of agreeing and disagreeing for a moment. In order to agree, there is a step that comes first: comparing what is being said with what you already know. If what someone is saying is consistent with your current knowledge base and beliefs, then you agree. If it doesn’t, then you disagree. But all of this takes place in a nanosecond. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you sometimes catch yourself rushing ahead in your thoughts as you finish someone else’s sentence?

2. Do you ever lose the sense of what another has to say because you’re busy holding onto what you want to say when your turn arrives?

3. Do you automatically agree and disagree while conversing with another?

If the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes," don’t worry. You are normal. In fact, having a mind that works this way is part of being human. What we are suggesting here is purposefully slowing down and listening to hear what another is saying from his or her perspective. Not to see if you know it already. Not to see if it adversely affects an agenda of yours. And not to agree or disagree, but simply to hear it from the other’s perspective.

Here are some hints on how to supercharge your listening skill set:

Begin by listening with your eyes as well as your ears. Look directly at your partner or the person you are dating or spending the evening with. Engage as if you are listening to the words and the essence of what is being said, not only through your ears but through your eyes as well.

If you are listening to someone on the phone, be aware that your eyes are still processing information. If you’re reading emails, watching a muted television show, or working on other things with your eyes, you’ll miss the nuances of what is being said. You are perfectly capable of toggling back and forth between both activities but you will not do either well. And you will not be building a sense of intimacy. You will simply hear what you expect to hear—not what is actually being said.

Since 1987, award winning authors, Ariel and Shya Kane have taught people across the globe how to live in the moment and unwire the knee-jerk behaviors that get in the way of living life with ease. How to Have A Match Made in Heaven: A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating and Marriage is available everywhere books are sold. For more information about the book,visit www.MatchMadeinHeavenBook.com. To find out more about the Kanes and their upcoming NYC seminar, The Art of Listening, visit www.transformationmadeeasycom/upcoming/

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