Are you hard of hearing?
I don't mean that you use hearing aids. Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. I mean, do you sometimes hear what you expect to hear? Or what you want to hear? And you don't hear what the person is really saying?
I know I do. Sometimes I'm so certain that I know exactly what a friend or loved one is thinking—and I am sure I know what they're going to say on a given subject. So I may not listen quite so carefully for the nuance because I think I already know. Not a good recipe for communication, is it?
At times, it's less about thinking the comment will be the predictable response and more about being in a hurry. When I am rushed, I don't read the email as carefully or listen as well as I should. That's why, before each coaching session with a client, I take 15 minutes to ground and center myself. I clear out all my own thoughts and cares as best I can—and I focus on the client, her goals, what we discussed last time and anything else I know is going on in her life. I pray to be open to the client and his needs and concerns. I get myself into my best open and listening mode.
So now I wonder: What if I did that all the time? What if I really listened to all the conversations I have daily? Would my communications with others be clearer? I think so. As with everything in our lives, we can't be perfect. But we surely can continue trying to improve. We can do the best we're able to do each day.
Maybe our relationships will improve as we try to be less hard of hearing!