How's your hearing these days? I'm not talking about whether you need hearing aids. I'm thinking about your listening ability.
Because I'm a coach, that's a topic I think about a lot. It's my job to listen deeply—to hear the words my clients use and also to hear the feelings beneath the words. It's my desire to hear what my clients say and to hear what they're not saying. Both are important.
It's not just as a coach that I see the importance of listening and hearing, though. I want to listen well to those I love and to all those with whom I come into contact. That means not thinking about what I want to say next when someone else is talking. It means setting aside preconceptions of what the other person is saying or what I think that person means. It means asking questions if I'm not sure about the content or meaning. It means remembering the proportion of ears to mouth: one mouth, two ears! And it means keeping in mind that the two words, listen and silent, both have the very same letters. Somehow that's informative for me: I need to be silent if I want to really listen to another.
See what difference it might make in your relationships if you really stop to hear what others are saying to you.