Listening is a hard concept for many people. We "hear", but often don't "listen". Hearing is simply the act of perceiving the sound, but listening is a conscious act. It requires concentration to gain meaning. I think I have always been a good listener....maybe even great. I was never very confident in a crowd, so I listened and therefore, I understood things about people that amazed them.
In my 20's I worked retail. As a new manager, we all took a training class in ......Listening to the Customer. I gained a few more valuable listening skills there. The most important was: Validate what the customer is saying by repeating back their frustrations or concerns. "I hear that you are frustrated with our return policy that you must have a receipt in order to receive a full refund. And because your garment still has the tags on, you think you should receive full price". Knowing one is truly being heard by validating what has been said is the first step in a meaningful conversation. This training has come in handy in my marriage, with my children, in my workplace, as well as in a host of other situations. I am also more aware that listening doesn't just mean through our ears. I guess I have "listened" to body language, "listened" to others' emotions, and now am "listening" to my body.
Now just in my 50's I am learning to listen to my body (not sure I really learned it...more like forced into it). It has been a long time in coming. I think my body stopped being polite and just started screaming at me in ways that I am now unable to ignore. I have always been just a bit overweight and have been on some sort of weight loss program since 5th grade. I was always the pleasantly plump one.....about 10-15 (7 or so as a child) pounds overweight and try as I may, those pounds have stuck to me like glue my whole life. Because I have ignored my body and confused it with this plan and that.....low-fat, high protein, Slimfast, starvation then overeating, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar,....Scarsdale, Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, South Beach, Atkins, Flat Belly, etc...it is FINALLY telling me it has had enough. And actually, I've had enough too! LOTS of wasted hours spent reading about diets, nutrition, etc... Ah come on...I KNOW what I need to do! Fewer calories, healthy foods, and exercise. Why not just do it?
Well I am here to say that, "Body, I AM listening!" I will use this year to give my body what it needs to get it feeling good. I did start this journey with my Spark friends and Buddies over this past year. I am drinking more water, getting enough sleep, and have been more aware of what I am eating (even when forbidden foods are passing my lips). This year as my body is yelling at me through some digestive issues, I WILL listen and get my food choices on the right track. I also will exercise at least 3 days a week. Hopefully more, but feel like I should be able to do 3 days consistently all year. And this year is about LISTENING and FOLLOWING THROUGH.
As we move into the new year, I hope we all learn to LISTEN to the things around us.....
Are we listening to our bodies?...what we should be eating, how much exercise we need, whether or not it would be healthier to be less involved or more involved at work or in extra curricular activities, what can our family members do to help us more at home, etc...
Are we listening to the people around us?
Are we listening to the sounds?
Are we listening?
May your newy ear be rich with health, happiness, and the ability to listen!