Pure Listening Is A Challenge

Listening to another's point of view is problematic. Usually, people listen while reflecting upon their own life.

To connect or show empathy, the listener accesses their own feelings or life experiences, which are assumed to be similar to the speaker. In the eagerness to show understanding, the listener cut off the speaker's speech to share their own feelings and experiences. Yet, cutting off the speaker makes them feel dismissed and ignored.

But, everyone's feelings and experiences are unique. People have different reactions and unique perspectives to the same event.

In a divorce, some might be devastated, while others are thrilled. In giving birth, some might feel relieved, while others feel anxious.

And so, the sharing of the listener's emotions and experiences may seem like empathetic listening, but it's not.

Pure listening is a whole-body experience at the moment. It is the opening of minds to recognise the other's perspectives. It is the sensitivity to one's bodily sensations to acknowledge the other's presence. It is the opening of hearts to connect with the other's emotions.

Pure listening is the act of recognising the other's feelings, opinions and experiences, without imposing yourself.