Are you a good listener?

In today’s episode, you will learn how to become a better listener by using the four levels of listening.

One of the most critical and the most undervalued life skill is listening.

We talk all the time about the importance of communication in a relationship, but rarely do we talk about our listening skills.

For a skill that we use daily, it is a little bit absurd that we are not formally taught how to do it. I spent months of my life learning advanced algebra, but not one class on how to listen.

Most people assume that hearing and listening are the same thing; they aren’t. Hearing is the faculty of perceiving sound. Hearing is automatic – a stimulus occurs in your environment, it is channeled through your ears into your brain.

Listening is giving one’s attention to a sound. The main difference between actually hearing something and listening to something is determined based on where you place your attention.

Improving the quality of your listening is one of the most important skills to develop in your relationship.

Your attention is one of the most precious gifts that you can give to someone and this is a gift that you should give to your partner a lot.

Your attention is one of the most precious gifts that you can give to someone and you should give this to your partner a lot. #LoveSmarter

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The importance of this skill is amplified in relationships that are starved for time. If you only get a few minutes of alone time with your partner each day - you are going to need to learn to connect deeply with your partner in a short amount of time.

The 4 Levels of Listening:

Level 1: Not listening.

At level 1 listening, there is sound occurring, but it is not receiving any of your attention. The human brain can process 1.6 conversations at a time. Not 2. This means that you can’t really listen effectively with the TV on in the background, reading the newspaper or while you are texting on your phone.

Level 2: Reactionary Listening

You are engaged in conversation, but your attention is not on the words that are actually being said by your partner. Your attention is on the voice in your head that is reacting to what your partner said or planning the next thing you want to say.

In other words, you don’t really hear and acknowledge what your partner actually said, but instead jump to what the little voice in your head has to say about what your partner said. Yes, the little voice in your head that just went “What little voice in my head?”

Reactionary listening is the most common level of listening.

Level 3: Full Body Listening

With full body listening, you register more than just the words your partner is saying. You are able to feel the emotion they are communicating as well. You can detect if they are angry, or sad, or excited.

When I say you are able to feel it, I mean that literally. You are sharing a piece of your partner’s experience. You demonstrate that you are listening with your body: you may be making eye contact, nodding your head, leaning forward, are all signs that you are connected and present.

Level 4: Deep Listening

At this ultimate level of listening, you are not only registering the emotions of your partner, you are actually able to hear the commitment or desire behind what they are saying.

This doesn’t come from thinking about why they said what they said. It is something that you just know because you are so present in that moment your intuition just picks up on it.

When we are totally present and listening to our partner, it is possible to be in deep communication. When we are in deep communication we can know things through the shared experience with our partner.

Have you ever had someone say the same thing to you over and over again? They are repeating themselves because there is something you are not getting and they don’t feel heard. Try deep listening and acknowledge their underlying commitment or desire.

When my husband and I are in a state of deep communication, he will understand my commitment before I am even aware of what it is. He might say “I can hear that you are really angry about that and I know that you just want to feel like I respect you.”

Something magical happens when you get someone’s communication at this deep level. They feel heard and their concerns begin to melt.

Most of the time listening is something we do on autopilot. By using the 4 levels of listening, you can start to identify what level you are currently listening at, and take a step up to the next level.

People LOVE to be listened to.

The more you are able to use deep listening in your relationship and in your life, the better your relationships will get.