Listening As Receiving

Try this simple exercise:

The next time you are in conversation, suspend, just for a moment, any expectation you have in your listening. Your simple letting go of that one thing for one moment will produce an effect.  Try it a few times and you’ll see.  When you listen with expectation, you “meet” the other with your expectation. It is like a gesture saying “well,” “but,” “if.”  It is a hand held up between you.  When you drop expectation, even for a moment, you “receive” the other as they are in the moment. That produces an entirely different gesture that will be perceived and you will notice the difference.

People don’t want to be simply “heard.” They want to be seen. They want to be recognized. They want to be understood. A person may feel they are “heard” when they are met with attention. But, they will feel recognized if they are “received” and they will feel understood when they perceive that they are received as they are.